It’s springtime in East Tennessee, which means that along with the warmer days and beautiful blooms comes the emergence of more ticks. It’s a good time of year to brush up on what to watch out for, and how best to keep pets, humans, and homes tick-free.
According to Dr. Amanda Gudgel, a veterinarian at PetWellClinic® and My Pet’s Animal Hospital, the most commonly encountered ticks in Tennessee are the American dog tick, the lone star tick, and the brown dog tick. Dr. Gudgel says, “Other than being unsightly, the main concerns with ticks are the diseases they can carry and can pass on, to not only dogs and cats but to people, too.”
She adds, “Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the most common tick-transmitted disease in Tennessee, and is mostly spread by the American dog tick. Some other diseases carried by ticks include Ehrlichiosis, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), or Lyme Disease.”
Animals to Humans
Most people are familiar with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but not as many have heard of Ehrlichiosis. This tickborne illness infects red blood cells, which may result in lethargy, loss of appetite, or lameness. Also of concern is that ehrlichia is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be passed from animals to humans. It’s particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.
STARI is also a zoonotic disease that can be passed from household pets to humans. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lameness, and lethargy.
If you find a tick on your pet, Dr. Gudgel advises that the best thing to do is bring your pet to your veterinarian or to a PetWellClinic. Veterinarians have instruments to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible to ensure removal of the entire tick, including the head. She adds that it’s also important for your veterinarian to make a notation about the tick in your pet’s medical record in case clinical signs of the diseases mentioned above arise.
Vaccines are not available for all the tick-borne diseases your pets may come in contact with, and they wouldn’t prevent dogs or cats from bringing ticks into your home. To keep your pet healthy and your home safe, it’s essential to consistently use a tick preventive product.
Dr. Gudgel says, “Tick prevention is very important for both animal and human health. For best protection, products like Bravecto provide the broadest coverage by fighting against four species of ticks and also fleas. The nice thing about Bravecto is that one chewable tablet gives you 3 months of tick and flea coverage. Administer the product and then you don’t have to worry about if your pet is protected for the next 12 weeks! Other products are available including oral medications, topicals and collars to fit each pet’s needs.”
PetWellClinic® offers a variety of affordable, high-quality chewable and topical tick prevention products, such as Bravecto, as well as Simparica, Activyl, Parastar, and Revolution. We can help you determine which one is best for your pet, and we can help you with heartworm and flea prevention products as well.
The PetWellClinics are located in Farragut at 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, near West Hills at 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, and in Alcoa at 228 S. Calderwood Street. By operating as a walk-in clinic with no appointment necessary, we are able to offer substantially discounted prices for wellness exams, vaccinations, preventative products, and treatment of minor conditions. Learn more about how PetWellClinic can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com