By Moira Drosdovech, DVM
A carefree romp through long grass and low bushes, and your four-legged hiking buddy may be an ideal target for these hitchhikers.
There is one thing I dislike about the warm season in the Okanagan, and that is bugs. I would wager a bet that animals aren’t keen either, because bugs bite them.
Given the time of year, let’s focus on ticks. Finding one on your dog is somewhat less than thrilling. The most likely dogs to pick them up are the ones going for hikes in the surrounding hillsides where there are tall grasses and low bushes. Ticks will cling onto the grasses for hours waiting for passersby, then BAM! They invade! Once on the dog (or you), they tend to climb toward the head and shoulder region.
Tick season is in full swing until June sometime, so take precautions. A natural product like OregaPet Bed and Body Spray prior to the hike will repel the ticks once they have jumped aboard. On returning, spend a few minutes to look for the little hitchhikers before they attach.* Once they’re attached, you can try and remove them yourself, being careful not to leave the head of the tick or let the blood of the tick touch you in case of Lyme disease transmission (inexpensive tick removal instruments exist). Alternatively, you can take your dog into a veterinary clinic and have them do it. Ticks left unattended on a pet can cause tick paralysis, which reverses itself once the tick is removed but can be rather alarming!
* Editor’s note: Be sure to check your dog all over—my dog, a Shih Tzu, had a tick attach itself to the base of his tail, where it remained undetected until tick paralysis began to set in. It took two end-to-end checks to locate and remove the fully engorged tick, and my dog made a quick and full recovery.
Moira Drosdovech, DVM, graduated from veterinary college in 1987, worked in Vancouver and then in 1990 moved to Kelowna, where she purchased a vet practice. In 1997, her practice philosophy took a holistic turn. She sold the Rutland Pet Hospital in 1998 and took a professional course in Veterinary Homeopathy. In 2000, Dr. Drosdovech started Pawsitive Veterinary Care, a practice focused on holistic care, which she is passionate about. For details on her holistic approach, visit www.pawsitivevetcare.com.
*Reprint from our Spring 2015 Issue