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Tick Season in New England: Seasonal Pet Tips for Pet Owners

Preventing Fleas and TicksWhile fleas and ticks can attack your pets year-round, it is important to stay on top of preventive measures particularly in the fall. Visit your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian to get your dog or cat a complete check-up, to ensure that they are not infested with pests. Seasonal pet tips include using preventive measures, such as flea and tick medication, to help reduce the chance of exposure for both your pets and your family. New Bedford pet owners can bring their cats and dogs in for a visit at the veterinary clinic in Dartmouth for even more seasonal prevention opportunities for pets.

Dispelling the Myths
One reason why fleas and ticks spread so much is that people are unaware of the risks. In fact, there are many myths or wives tales, as they are often called, about them that simply are not true. The more you can learn about these common pests, the easier it will be to keep your pets safe from them all year-long. There are many different species that must be considered, so it is important to take time to talk with your vet and get seasonal pet tips that can help keep your dog or cat safe.

  • Ticks Die After the First Frost – This is absolutely not true. The deer tick can remain active all the way through the winter and into spring as long as we do not get temperatures below freezing. Other species, such as the Lone Star tick and the American dog tick, don’t die off at all, they just become dormant in the colder temperatures.
  • Big Ticks Aren’t a Problem – The truth is that the largest ticks, the adult phase ticks, are the ones that transmit Lyme disease. In fact, the Black-legged tick, which is also known as the “deer” tick, is the largest tick in North America. It is estimated that more than half of all deer ticks are infected with Lyme disease-causing bacteria. Bring your pet into our veterinary clinic in Dartmouth if you notice the presence of any size of tick.
  • Ticks Don’t Bite in the Winter – Once again it is the Black-legged deer tick that is most likely to bite in the winter months, affecting humans, dogs, cats and horses more often than any other mammals. They come in three sizes, the small larvae, which are nearly microscopic; the larger nymphs, which is are still pretty tiny; and the larger adult stage ticks, which can be easily seen with the naked eye. If you suspect ticks but do not see them, consider visiting your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian.
  • Ticks Are More Active in the Summer – While they can be active all year-long if the weather conditions are right, the adult stages of the Black-legged deer tick are most active during the seasonal weather changes between summer and fall. They are the most common and biggest threat during the month of October. The nymph phase is most active as the weather changes between spring and summer. This is why seasonal pet tips are important.
  • You Can’t Get Lyme Disease When It Snows – New Bedford pet owners need to be aware that ticks will latch on to a new host, first coming into the home via a pet or switching to a larger host, such as a human, at any time when the temperature is near freezing or at freezing. This is to help them survive the winter season, latching on to a larger warm-blooded host. Lyme disease can be contracted all year-long.
  • Lyme Disease Can Be Transmitted in Minutes – Studies show that it takes a minimum of 48 hours for ticks to begin transmitting Lyme disease through their saliva. So if you learn to check your pets, yourself, your children and any other family members on a daily basis, you can prevent transmission before it even occurs.
  • Topical Treatments Don’t Work – Preventive methods, such as topical treatments and clothing repellents are never 100 percent effective, due to things like user error and other issues that can occur during an outing. However, that being said, it is worth it to use topical treatments and clothing repellents to increase the safety of you and your family. Speak with your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian about preventives for your pet.

Get a Seasonal Check-Up for Your Pet
If you live in the South Coast area, make sure to set an appointment for your pet to visit our veterinary clinic in Dartmouth for an annual check-up. Your local Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian can set you up with preventive prescriptions and provide you with suggestions and other seasonal pet tips to help keep your dog or cat safe all year-long. New Bedford pet owners need to be diligent about fleas, ticks and other local pests to help keep pets and family members free from related diseases. Contact Anchor Animal Hospital by calling 508-996-3731 to schedule a seasonal check-up appointment.