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May
17
2018

Incidents of Tick-Borne Diseases in Pets on the Rise

Recent news of epidemic proportions of Lyme disease in parts of the Northeast has many pet parents looking to their veterinarians, local pet store owners, and the professionals at whiskerDocs®, the nation’s leading provider of veterinary telehealth and decision support, for answers about the best flea and tick products to ensure their pet’s safety and wellbeing.

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, changes in weather patterns have resulted in the expansion of normal tick habitats and, in turn, increased incidences of tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease. While different species of ticks carry different diseases, ticks are carriers of at least 16 different pathogens in the United States alone. Each pathogen has the potential to infect both pets and humans.

“Most pet parents know that using a monthly oral, topical, or collar-based tick product will provide protection for their pet, and often buy whatever the local pet store has on sale or has received the highest reviews on Amazon. What they may not know, however, is that some products are specific to the species of tick,” says Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, Clinical Director of the whiskerDocs® 24/7 Pet Help Line. “Pet parents should make sure they pick a tick product that is specifically effective for their geographic region.”

While the Brown Dog tick plagues the entire country, including Hawaii and Alaska, other species are restricted to certain regions. For instance, the Gulf Coast Tick is found in the southeast, mid-Atlantic, and southern plains states, spanning the region of West Virginia to as far south as Florida and west through Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This tick can be responsible for spreading a type of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Residents in the southwest needn’t worry about the Lone Star Tick for now, but residents in the northeast and many other regions of the continental U.S. do. More information about the types of ticks in your region can be found here.

Only a few products on the market provide protection against all species of ticks across the United States, but that doesn’t mean these particular products are superior to others. After all, other products may have the advantage in concurrent heartworm protection and/or may kill more active life stages of fleas and mites. As long as you to know what tick species your pet could be exposed to, based on where you live or where you travel, and select your preventatives accordingly, your pet should be adequately protected from the zoonotic diseases ticks carry.

With so many products on the market, identifying the ticks in your region and selecting the most appropriate preventatives for your pet can be a daunting task. Whether you’re looking for support in making sure your pet is protected against the Lyme disease epidemic in New York or wanting to ensure that your Florida dog will be safe when you bring him on vacation in the Colorado mountains, the veterinary experts at whiskerDocs® are available to help!

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