Tick-Borne Illnesses in Oklahoma
The most common tick species in and around Edmond can carry a variety of diseases that can affect both our pets and our human families. These include:
- Ehrlichiosis – this disease causes fever, reduced appetite, and low blood platelets, often accompanied by nosebleeds and bruising. If diagnosed and treated quickly, the prognosis is generally good.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever – this disease, similar to Ehrlichiosis, causes fever, reduced appetite, and low blood platelets, as well as joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. Neurological issues such as incoordination and stumbling can also occur.
- Anaplasmosis – this bacterial infection causes many of the same symptoms as Lyme disease, on top of causing low blood platelets, which control blood clotting.
- Lyme disease – this well-known disease is caused by bacteria, Borrelia, and causes fever, joint pain and swelling, weakness and lethargy, as well as swollen lymph nodes. While it can be treated with antibiotics, there are sometimes lingering effects of illness.
Tips for a Tick-Free Summer
While ticks can actually survive all year long in Oklahoma, they are most active and dangerous during the summer months. To reduce your pet’s exposure to ticks and their dangerous bites, follow these tips.
- Ensure your pet’s parasite preventatives are up to date and remain so all year long. Any lapse in preventatives could leave an opening for ticks as well as other nasty parasites.
- Always check your pet (and yourself!) for ticks after any adventure in the great outdoors — even if it is just your backyard. Keep in mind that it usually takes 24 hours or more of feeding for a tick to pass any diseases to you or your pet. Still, the sooner you remove the tick, the better.
- Clear your yard of dead leaves, brush, and tall grass, all of which are perfect environments for ticks to inhabit.
Tick Removal Tips
To remove a tick that has bitten your pet, follow these steps:
- Protect yourself by wearing latex gloves before handling the tick.
- Use tweezers to remove the tick. Place them as close to the skin as possible, grab the tick, and pull straight up in a firm, yet steady manner.
- Place the tick in an empty screw-top jar.
- Disinfect the bite wound, wash your hands thoroughly, and sterilize the tweezers, too.
- Be sure to check the bite site daily to ensure there are no infections or reactions. Also, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and health for the next few weeks to determine if any tick-borne diseases were contracted.
Ticks are creepy, and sometimes dangerous creatures. Don’t let them ruin your summer fun! Use our tick protection and removal tips to enjoy a safe summer with your furry friend. If you have any questions about ticks and your pet, please contact us at (405) 701-9000.