Prevent against ticks and fleas
Summer is a time for uninvited guests in the fur of dogs and cats, which are partly a nuisance for the animals, but which can also cause diseases or infection to the other residents of the household.
Summer time is tick time
All dogs and cats that stay outside should have preventive flea treatment all year round, but especially in the spring and summer months it is also important to remember ticks. The agents are typically given as pipettes in the neck or via spray directly into the coat.
ATTENTION: You must never just give flea and tick products intended for dogs to cats, as the product can be directly life-threatening for cats. Always make sure to use tick repellent that is intended for cats.
Many flea remedies also prevent tick attacks, but it is important to be aware that no remedy prevents 100%, and that you, as a dog or cat owner, should therefore check the fur daily for unauthorized guests. A tick must not sit for more than 24 hours before there is a risk of the life-threatening borrelia infection, which humans can also be infected by.
Always use tick tweezers to remove ticks
In principle, the ticks can sit anywhere, but will typically seek where the skin is thinnest, such as by the ears, on the stomach and in the armpits. In the past, it was recommended to smear the tick in oil, to set it on fire or to turn it, but this is strongly discouraged today, as it has been found that these measures often cause the tick to vomit before it is released, and it increases the risk of contagion and infection. Ticks should be removed with tick tweezers purchased for the purpose. The tick tweezers can be used on both animals and humans, and it is therefore a good idea to always have one lying around for the purpose.
To remove a tick without tick tweezers
If you do not have tick tweezers, you should of course buy one, but it is also important that you do not just let the tick sit on your pet, as this increases the chance of disease transmission. Instead, you can grab your nails around the tick's head - put as close to the skin as possible, without pressing on the tick's body - and pull the tick off in one gliding motion.
Watch out for the tick bite
After removing a tick, you should keep an eye on the bite site to make sure that it does not become infected, or that the dog or cat is not infected with e.g. Lyme disease. It is normal for the bite to be red and slightly swollen, but the redness and swelling should subside and not increase in size. In that case, you should always consult a veterinarian.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and cats
Both humans and animals can be infected with the dangerous disease Lyme disease, which is transmitted via ticks that stay for more than 24 hours. Ticks typically sit in relatively hidden places and can therefore be difficult to spot - especially in thick dog or cat fur.
The symptoms of Lyme infection in a dog or cat are the following:
- Facial paralysis
- Muscle pain
- Lameness or unsteady gait
- Reduced appetite
Some of the above are also symptoms of a number of other diseases, but it is worth considering and mentioning Lyme infection to the vet if the animal spends a lot of time outdoors; especially in forest areas. The Borrelia infection can be detected by a blood test and requires urgent treatment.
Borrelia vaccine for dogs
There is now a vaccine against Lyme disease that can be given to dogs. The advantage is partly that your dog cannot be infected, but at the same time the vaccine also kills the borrelia bacteria in a tick that bites the vaccinated animal. This reduces the risk of infection in general.
Even if your dog is vaccinated, you should still treat with preventative tick medication and regularly check for ticks, as ticks can transmit a wide range of other diseases.