The return of sunny days inevitably signals that of parasites. And particularly ticks, which carry very serious diseases. Our five tips for avoiding the worst.
The choice of vaccination depends on the lifestyle of your animal and the places it frequents. The vaccine against piroplasmosis is essential if you are staying in Ariège, Gers and Jura, three regions where ticks infested by Babesia canis are the most numerous. A booster is recommended every year. Another vaccine protects against borreliosis (or Lyme disease ), which mainly affects hunting dogs. The culprit bacteria is very well established throughout France, particularly in the forests of the North and East. This vaccine requires an annual booster. In recently infected dogs, the vaccine is useful in helping their body to better defend itself against the bacteria.
2 THE REPELLENT
The choice of repellents depends on the age, species and physiological state of the animal. Also, it is better to seek advice from your veterinarian. Some repellents are made up of chemical molecules and others are based on geraniol (a plant extract). If you have a garden, mow regularly as ticks mostly roost on tall grass, where they await potential prey. You can also plant chrysanthemums that ticks hate!
Despite its size – between 2 and 10 millimeters – a tick can go unnoticed in the middle of the hairs. Also, at each return from a walk , a proper inspection is required. Also remember to look where the skin is thinnest: on the head, neck and between each finger, because ticks like these areas.
4 THE TICK PULLER
Removing a tick requires a certain skill. Because if you pull on the visible part of the tick, the body will detach itself from its head, but the rostrum (mouth part of the tick) will remain stuck in the skin. Likewise, do not try to put the tick to sleep with ether. It will have time to release its salivary juices containing parasites and bacteria. It is best to use a special hook for ticks.
If the tick removed has made a blood meal, the animal should be monitored in the days and weeks that follow. If it is the piroplasmosis bacteria, the red blood cells will be affected first, then the kidneys and the liver. This results in high fever with a deterioration of the general condition, very pale gums and conjunctiva, dark urine, and/or lameness. The veterinarian must urgently start the antiparasitic treatment because time is of the essence. If the tick has transmitted the bacteria responsible for ehrlichiosis, symptoms appear only ten to twenty days after infection. The affected dog is very dejected, feverish, anorexic, and shows a throwing of the truffle. Antibiotics can help heal as long as it is done quickly. Finally, in the case of borreliosis, it is a sudden and very painful lameness that gives the alert. As this disease occurs in crises, some owners neglect to consult. However, the disease has not disappeared. It will evolve and declare itself in a chronic form with cardiac, renal and neurological damage. Antibiotic treatments are essential but are not always enough. Only anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain.