Ticks and Dogs!

Early tick removal may reduce the risk of infection of some tick-borne diseases.

Tick Prevention

  • Ticks are seldom a problem in well-maintained lawns although edges of property supporting tall weeds and brush can be a source of infestation.

  • Avoid walking through uncut fields, brush and other areas likely to harbor ticks.

  • When hiking wear long pants tucked into socks and consider using tick repellents.

  • Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

  • Inspect family and pets after being in tick-infested areas, and promptly remove any ticks which are found (ticks most often attach at the neck and scalp).

  • Keep grass and shrubs in your yard trimmed, and clear overgrown vegetation from edges of your property.

  • Ticks avoid direct sunlight and usually are not found in areas which are well maintained.

How to remove a tick

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect bare hands with a tissue or gloves to avoid contact with tick fluids.

  • Grab the tick close to the skin. Do not twist or jerk the tick, as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.

  • Gently pull straight up until all parts of the tick are removed.

After removing a tick, wash your hands with soap and water (or waterless alcohol-based hand rubs when soap is not available). Clean the tick bite with an antiseptic such as iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol, or water containing detergents.

Ticks and Human Contact

Symptoms associated with tick-borne infections differ depending on the type of infection. Common symptoms are as follows:

Lyme disease - symptoms include a flulike illness , an expanding red rash that may include a central clear area (a bull's-eye rash), arthritis, heart rhythm problems, difficulties in thinking or perception, and neuropathies (pain or changes in sensation as a result of nerve damage).

Human monocytic ehrlichiosis - Symptoms ranging from mild to severe can involve many organ systems. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, weight loss and a spotted rash. Patients with weak immune systems can develop a fatal, overwhelming infection. Breathing difficulties and mental changes may also occur.

Human granulocytic ehrlichiosis - Symptoms ranging from mild to severe include high fever, headache, a general sick feeling (malaise), achy muscles (myalgia), nausea, vomiting, cough, stiff neck and confusion. Less than 10% of people with this disease will develop a rash.

Colorado tick fever - Flulike symptoms include fever and chills, severe headache, achy muscles (myalgia), stiff neck, light intolerance and, in some cases, a spotted rash.

Babesiosis - Many people will not have any symptoms. Others develop fatigue, fever, drenching sweats, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, joint aches and jaundice. Patients with suppressed immune systems may develop severe disease.

Tularemia - The symptoms of this disease vary widely. Some people do not have any symptoms, but this disease also can be severe, causing septic shock and death. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache and a general sick feeling (malaise). Many people also develop a single, red ulcerated lump with a central scab and tender, swollen lymph nodes in the area. A small number of patients develop pneumonia.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever - Symptoms include fever, headache, a spotted rash on wrists and ankles, and a patchy rash on arms and legs. Muscle aches (myalgia), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are also common.

Tick Treatments

  • There are three very effective products that are used, fipronil (Frontline or Frontline Topspot, Rx), permethrin (ProTICall, Rx) and amitraz (Preventic collars, Rx).

  • Frontline kills fleas and ticks effectively. Tick control lasts for 2 weeks to a month.

    ** The product should only be applied on a monthly basis but can be used in conjunction with other products for tick control if necessary.

    It works very well for flea control, so if that is also a problem it may be a good first choice.

  • ProTICall is a concentrated permethrin topical for tick and flea control.

    It is a very effective tick control product but a less effective for flea control.

    It lasts 2 to 3 weeks but may be applied at 2 week intervals so it is possible to keep the problem under control continuously using this product.

  • Preventic collars are also pretty effective. They have the drawback of being toxic if ingested.

    This sounds like it wouldn't be a problem but dogs will eat these collars right off of another dog.

    So we don't recommend them for multi-dog households, especially if one of the dogs is prone to playing with the other dog's collar or if one of the dogs chews things up frequently.

    They seem to last around 6 to 8 weeks in our practice area.

Source: our friends at