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Ticks Are Now A Year-Round Threat

By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Infectious Diseases, Parasites

Historically, tick season in Virginia has run from Spring to Fall. However, record high temperatures are becoming more and more frequent. This means some areas have ticks virtually year-round.

Both dogs and humans are now at risk of tick-borne infections, like Lyme disease, even in the middle of January. A single tick can carry more than one disease, and in many of the cases of Lyme Disease that our veterinarians see, we often find a concurrent co-infection from other tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia.

Although we have a vaccine for Lyme Disease, there are no current preventative vaccines for the other tick-borne infections mentioned. Therefore, prevention is the best defense! If you have not had your pet tested for Lyme or other tick-borne diseases, please call our office and make an appointment. Waiting for your pet to show “symptoms” of Lyme disease, or other infection, is not a good idea, since this means the infection has already caused damage to joints, kidneys, blood cells,  nerves, and other areas.

A simple blood test can detect a dog’s previous exposure to a tick-borne organism, even if the owner has never seen a tick on their dog! The black-legged tick, also known as a deer tick, can be so small that it is not detected by the owner. A tick can fill up on its blood meal, transmit a tick-borne infection, and fall off before an owner even realizes their pet was bitten by a tick!   CEDARCREST veterinarians routinely test for tick-borne infections and heartworm disease during your pet’s yearly physical. Speaking of heartworm, mosquitoes, which transmit heartworm disease, are now considered a year-round threat as well! Do not stop giving heartworm preventatives just because it’s Winter!

A chewable flavored tick preventative, given monthly similar to heartworm preventatives, is now available. The tick preventative helps prevent the transmission of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections by killing the tick before it has time to pass along an infection.  Checking your pet daily for ticks is also an important part of keeping your pet…and your family, safe from these nasty dog and human diseases!

If your pet has been in tall grass, has been bitten by a tick, or is experiencing any unusual symptoms, please call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 to schedule an appointment.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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