Lyme disease, although the most well-known, is not the only affliction that ticks can bring to pets and people.
The tiny insects can transmit other diseases to pets and humans as well, such as the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. They can also cause injuries such as tick paralysis, bite wound infections and blood loss.
The best prevention of these problems is to remove ticks from pets before they have a chance to establish themselves. Routinely check pets after they have been outdoors, especially if they have been around tall grass and brush. Cutting brush and mowing the grass where pets play is also recommended.
If a tick is found attached to a pet's skin, remove it carefully with tweezers, pulling back steadily and slowly to ease out the tick's mouth parts. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands. The tick can be washed down the toilet.
Baths and dips may also be done on a regular basis during the tick season, as recommended by your veterinarian. There is also a collar available that contains amitraz, a chemical that works specifically against ticks.
If a female tick has taken a blood meal and drops off in the house, she can infest it in a matter of weeks. In this situation, veterinarians recommend that tick killing bombs and sprays be used in the house immediately.
For the protection of people and pets, a lookout for ticks should be started as soon as warm weather comes to Long Island.
The writers are Dr. Steven B. Holzman, Dr. William R. Haagenson and Dr. Kathleen Tapley. They are associated with the Nassau Suffolk Veterinary Hospital of Farmingdale.