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Tis the Season For Ticks; How to Keep Safe This Summer

LongIsland.com

There are three types of ticks that call the Long Island region home – deer ticks, lone star ticks, and dog ticks. These ticks hijack their way into our homes...

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Tick season is here! Read below for some tips on how to keep you, your family, and your pets safe this summer.

Photo by: makamuki0

Long Island, NY - June 13, 2018 - Long Island is experiencing one of the worst tick seasons on record. There are three types of ticks that call this area home – deer ticks, lone star ticks, and dog ticks. Deer ticks are the critters that carry the dangerous spirochete pathogen Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is the germ that causes Lyme disease.
 
Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not die off in the cold winter months. Instead, they go into hiding until the first signs of spring, taking refuge in brush, leaves, and anywhere else they can settle down for a long cozy nap.
 
As early as April, pet owners have seen ticks taking up residence on their dogs, sometimes several a day. These ticks are hijacking their way into our homes, where they may find a way to transfer to a human dwelling.
 
Protection
 
There are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your pet:
 
  • Keep your dog’s hair short during the warmer months when they are spending more time outside where ticks are alert and waiting. You’ll be able to see the ticks more clearly, and a short, tighter coat is a bit less accessible and attractive for ticks to jump onto. See a listing of groomers here.
  • Maintain your property by trimming bushes, cutting grass, removing piles of brush and leaves, and keeping walkways and garden beds as manicured as possible.
  • There are very effective tick collars, medications, and serums applied to the neck area to help ward ticks off your dog completely. These are available at most pet stores; or simply ask your vet for advice on the best method for your dog. For a list of pet stores in the area click here.
Safely Removing A Tick
 
So find a dreaded tick on the family pet. No need to panic yet – but heed some advice. We’ve all tried some of these home-grown methods for suffocating or burning a tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we’re doing more harm than good. By smothering the tick in petroleum jelly in an attempt wait it out and choke it to death, you are only giving it more time to pass on disease; and applying any kind of heat like a burning cigarette will only cause it to burrow into your skin deeper for safety.
 
Here’s the recommended way to safely and completely retrieve a tick from the dog’s body:
 
  • Using fine-tipped tweezers, grab hold of the the tick as closely as you can to the skin’s surface.
  • Pull firmly but gently upward, applying a steady, even pressure. Twisting or tugging at the tick will make the mouth-parts sever and retain their position in the skin.
  • Once excavated, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Get rid of the live tick by dousing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, or flushing it down the toilet.
When to Visit the Vet
 
If the tick is engorged, meaning it looks more like a balloon or a grape than it does an actual insect, it means the tick has been feeding on your pet for a fair amount of time. In this case a visit to the vet will insure that they are free of infection with a simple blood test. Click here for a list of veterinarians on Long Island.
 
Remember to check your dog daily this summer and fall if they spend ample time romping around the great outdoors. Spotting ticks early is the best insurance against harmful infections and disease.