Spring season means more tick exposure to pets

Spring season means more tick exposure to pets

The weather is warming up, the sun is shining, and the grass is growing. The grass, however, could be a problem due to ticks lurking in the shrubbery. More people are enjoying the outdoors in the spring season, but veterinarians warn pet owners to always be looking for ticks that may have buried in their pet’s skin.

“They look kind of like little spiders if you don’t know what they look like and they’re kind of gross little creepy crawlies, said veterinarian, Lynn Harbinson with the VCA Vineyard Animal Hospital in Kennewick.

Ticks feed off blood from a host animal, and their bites can cause dangerous problems, such as Lyme Disease and Tick Paralysis. Harbinson urges pet owners to watch for symptoms of such diseases, and to visit their veterinarian if they suspect their dog may be suffering from a tick related ailment. Symptoms of Tick Paralysis typically include vomiting, respiratory problems, and muscular issues.

Harbinson says people should routinely check their pets, as well as themselves. If doing outdoor activities, she says it is important to wear long, light colored clothing to lessen exposure and make it easier to spot the dark-colored ticks. It is possible to prevent tick exposure with over the counter treatments, though pet owners should be cautious when giving the medication to cats, as not all treatments are safe for felines.

“These chemicals are deadly to cats, said Harbinson. “A primary issue we see is that people are applying the wrong product to the wrong species.”

But if your pet does get a tick, it is fairly easy to remove, according to Harbinson. To remove a tick, it is best to pull them out with tweezers or a similar tool and wash the area with soap and water.

“Don’t use the hot needle, don’t try to light them on fire, don’t put alcohol on it, said Harbinson. “None of that stuff is going to make them come out once they’re in.”