Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trails and Ticks

Well, we did finally get out to the woods today. We walked up one of our "usual" paths, to the highest point in the Greenbelt. The views were breathtaking - it had been so long since we'd seen these magnificent treetops.

Marge, too, welcomed the cool breeze running across her face after our short, but hot, climb to the top.

We had some company, too. Khyra, does this guy look familiar to you? He's some kind of hawk or falcon, but we're not sure what species. There were a few of them flying over us, trying to figure out what we were. (Photo taken by my sister.)

Before we started our hike back down, I noticed that a tick had jumped on to Marge's back. I promptly swatted it away and smashed it with all my might using my shoe. I get SO heeby-jeeby around bugs, and bugs that latch on and suck your blood and carry diseases.. well, that's even worse.

We initially planned on staying longer, but the heat, the buzzing bugs, and the threat of ticks made us decide to end things on an early and happy note.

When we got home, I pulled in to the driveway and turned around to look at Marge, who was sitting in the seat behind me. There was a $%&#&$@ tick crawling on her neck!

I got out of the car as quickly as possible, took a little scrap of paper towel that I had handy, and pulverized that bug, too. Thankfully, this one was not attached, either.

Now, of course, both my sister and I were freaking out. We have never experienced ticks before - we're city kids, through and through.

The only thing I could think to do was take Marge out in the back yard with a couple of combs and sift through her fur. We searched that dog from HEAD to TOE and everything in between.. multiple times.. and yeah, we found another tick, this time on the back of her paw. I'm not sure if it was attached - I don't think it was, as I got it out of her fur using the fine-tooth comb and it came out whole (and perfectly alive and crawly, if I might add).. UGH!

Thankfully, the bath was scheduled for that afternoon, so we took her and SCRUBBED the heck out of that little doggy. Using the dryer, we were able to sift through her fur some more to make sure we hadn't missed any. We checked ourselves numerous times, too, and also showered. We had been wearing bug spray while hiking, so it seems that they avoided us. I still feel itchy all over, though...

It looks like we're in the clear, but I'm still nervous. I've never dealt with ticks before. Do I need to call my vet? Should I re-apply her flea/tick topical (she got it about 2 weeks ago)? Argh! No woods for a while - I guess the rain and heat has brought those disgusting little creatures out.

Also, while looking on Marge for more ticks, I noticed some sort of lesion next to her paw pad. Not sure what it is - it's raw and red - I cleaned it out and dressed it with an antibacterial cream that my vet has let me use on her before. I put a sock to cover it while I'm awake to watch her, too. She's not limping, so that's good, but I am concerned because it doesn't really look like it's going to be quick to heal like a simple cut would be. Going to keep an eye on it for now - let's hope a vet visit isn't in order this week!

What a crazy day it became!


houndstooth May 15, 2010 at 11:26 PM  

Tick preventatives like Frontline only work when the tick bites the dog, because the toxin is in the bloodstream. If the ticks were just crawling on her, it wouldn't have an effect on her. You can use a spray, like Adams' Flea and Tick Preventative on her when you're going out for walks for extra protection, I believe. I'm not sure that's foolproof, but I have friends who do that.

Is it possible she scraped her foot on something while you were out walking and it got a bit irritated?

Amy / Layla the Malamute May 15, 2010 at 11:26 PM  

What flea/tick topical do you use? Frontline Plus and such make the dog's blood poisonous to the tick, so that if they did attach themselves, they'd die as soon as they started drinking her blood.

It looks like you caught them before they attached though. I wouldn't call the vet for the ticks. I wouldn't re-apply the topical, either. It wouldn't hurt her having a double dose, but that shit's so ridiculously expensive I wouldn't waste the extra tube.

I hope her foot heals quickly though!

Sam May 15, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

That's interesting - I do use Frontline Plus and never knew how it really worked. I knew that they needed to attach in order for the ticks to die from it, but I figured if I re-applied it, it would catch any more that I might have missed.

I'm going to call my vet Monday just in case to see if he says to do anything special. SO SO SO SO peeved out by these things.

I thought that maybe she could have cut her foot on something while in the woods, but the wound doesn't really look fresh, but more like a couple days old. Maybe something on the beach yesterday?? It doesn't even really look like a usual cut/scrape, which has me a bit concerned. I know it's possible for them to get foot ulcers and stuff like that. She's not a licker, so it's not a lick granuloma thing either. Perhaps it started out as a cut and then get irritated when it went untreated. Hmm.

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! May 15, 2010 at 11:35 PM  


What a day!

First off, I think it looks like a redtailhawk from what I can see -

I do know that Frontline also comes in a spray bottle - it is a GREAT deal less expensive for as long as it lasts - you give a shot or two shoulders and tail - it does not quite have all the nasty stuff to qualify as Frontline Plus BUT it still takes care of ticks - perhaps a shot or two of this prior to a hike in a known tick concern area might be something to consider -

Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 11:54 PM  

GAH! ICK! BLEH! My momma says ticks give her the heebie jeebies and she grew up in a place that had lots of 'em and they still make her do the "Ewww...Gross!" dance. Luckily where we live, we don't really gets them and I'm A-OK with that. So we can't tells ya what to do but it sure sounds like you ended up with one squeaky clean dog outta the deal.

We also like Marge's sock. Maybe she'll start a trend!

Wiggles & Wags,

AC May 16, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

Those tree tops are amazing! Your landscape is so different than ours. I really enjoy seeing it.

So I'm generally comfortable with bugs, but ticks are freaky. It sounds like you've got Marge covered. I approach tick season by being vigilant, but not letting those little bugs keep us away from our trails. For me, that means monthly frontline and a look over after our outings.

Kona has had three ticks latch onto her this year. Not the best thing, but I feel alright knowing that in the (rare) case that a tick spreads something to her, there's effective medication for everything a tick can spread. (Like everything, early intervention is key.)

I agree with earlier comments. I wouldn't reapply (frontline is a pesticide, which makes me approach it as less is more since it's going into my dog's bloodstream) but talking to a vet never hurts..

AC May 16, 2010 at 12:20 AM  

Forgot to mention...Ticks don't jump like fleas. Marge has to "pick them up" by walking through where ever they're hanging out. So a good way to help prevent them is to keep Marge away from exploring shrubs or walking through higher grass.

Kona only ever picks up ticks after she's been frolicking and bushwacking through brush. I don't think I've ever seen a tick on her when she was restricted to the dirt trail.

Stella May 16, 2010 at 2:08 AM  

Hi Marge, Stella here!

Tell your Mom to be sure and look into your ears, that is a most favorite spot for ticks!

Tell your Mom that my Mom liked what you had to say to our blog today,


Sara May 16, 2010 at 6:17 AM  

We have a huge tick/lyme disease problem where I live. And I don't use any tick products. I just search my dogs for ticks everyday, and remove any that are attached. My dogs have never tested positive for lyme.

I think you are going to be fine. Our health department indicates that if you remove ticks within 36 hours, your risk of disease is greatly reduced.

I'd check marge again for any weird bumps today... ticks swell up when they have attached. My dogs tend to get them around their face/head the most. If you find some, remove by pulling up & away with tweezers, then clean area with rubbing alcohol.

I do get my dogs vacinated for lyme disease. Since they are at such a high risk.

D.K. Wall May 16, 2010 at 7:02 AM  

Fortunately, up where we live, we do not have to deal with ticks despite all of the woods.

But when we drop off of the mountain (like camping this weekend), we do deal with them. We use Frontline Plus and just scour The Herd for ticks after walks. You handled them well by cleaning, so I would not worry too much about it.

Chris and Ricky May 16, 2010 at 7:22 AM  

My mom hates ticks (and bugs) too and feels all itchy for hours after just hearing the word "tick" (She's scratching right now - LOL!)

I think Marge will be fine since she is on Frontline and the ticks would fall off dead if they bit her. Wonder what is going on with her paw though? Unfortunately you might end up at the vet for that - I hope it looks way better today!

Frankie Furter and Ernie May 16, 2010 at 8:28 AM  

Yuck. I hate ticks. My mom goes over me from nose to tail every day. It is quite enjoyable, I must say.

Cyndi and Stumpy May 16, 2010 at 9:01 AM  

I miss a lot of things from back east but ticks and fleas are NOT one of them!

A citrus spray, not containing chemicals, is a good in-between preventative. It can be applied frequently.Basically all bugs hate the stuff. dogs don't like it much either

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, then add a few sliced citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits--any combination will do). Let boil for one minute, then simmer on low heat for an hour. Take out the sliced fruits, and pour the remaining mixture through a strainer. Pour into a spray bottle, and spray directly onto clothing, pets and lawn. The acidic scent of citrus fruits work to repel both ticks and fleas.

LauraK May 16, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

I definitely get the heebie jeebies around bugs too- especially ticks. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about them too much in Colorado- I don't think I've seen a tick for over 10 years, and that was when we lived in MO. Good thing Marge has such a good mom like you to get all those bugs off! Beautiful pictures of the hike :)

Dog_geek May 16, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

Just wanted to clear up some mis-information in your comments - fleas and ticks do NOT have to bite the dog in order to be killed by FrontLine or FrontLine Plus - they are killed by contact with the dog's haircoat. It just takes a lot longer for ticks to die than for fleas. FrontLine does not act by getting into the dog's bloodstream. It spreads through the oils in the dog's fur - that is why you are not supposed to apply it right after washing the dog - because there will be less oil in the haircoat, and it will not spread efficiently.

Kathy Mocharnuk May 16, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

I used advantix because my rehab vet said it was the one that would stop them from attaching to begin with--she found a tick on Breeze when she did her exam, whoops....

I HATE TICKS they really gross me out.

Breeze has a mystery sore on her back leg, right on her hock, and I was searching and searching for how to cover it, A SOCK how smart are you to think of that??? Wish I had, LOL, now I will have to go and get one as soon as I finish my comment.

The pictures are gorgeous, what a lucky dog Marge is, hiking in a place like that and having the beach, and agility and rally, ;-), she has a lot of variety to keep her happy!

Martha May 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

What a wonderful walk - the weather just looked perfect too.
We hate ticks and with bassets loving to forage through the undergrowth we do get our fair share.
We use Frontline but really through the summer it has to be monthly.
We also have a tick remover as they can be tricky to get off.
The joys of the outdoor life!
Martha and Bailey xxx

Gus, Louie and Callie May 16, 2010 at 5:49 PM  

Mom can relate totally with you even growing up on a farm ticks just give her the heebie jeebies too.. We are headed to Wisconsin Memorial day weeekend with all the pups. We took them up this past week for a dose of flea and tick medicine even though their heartworm pills have it in them.. Can't be to safe...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Lorenza May 16, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

We don't have experience with ticks. But sure a call to her Vet would be ok!
I hope her paw gets better soon!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Cinnamon and Mint May 17, 2010 at 6:57 AM  

We have no experience with ticks either. Sounds scary. We also use Frontline Plus, which I hope protects us against any harm ticks may cause. I hope Marge's paw will heal soon.

Natasha May 17, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

Eek! I'm lucky in that my dogs have never encountered ticks, so I don't have any advice...but sounds like you did a good thorough job in making sure Marge was tick-free!!

Sue May 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM  

We hate ticks here, too. Frontline will kill the ticks once they attach. We usually find them running thru the fur, not attached. You can smash them or put them in alcohol to kill them. Do check inside the ear flaps, that's a favorite place to hide.

We've had lots of foot injuries of all sorts and the usual advice from our vet is to soak the foot twice a day, then put something like Animax ointment on the sore. The soaking helps it heal faster and my dogs all seem to enjoy it. Guess it feels good.

KB May 21, 2010 at 9:32 AM  

My dog, K, has severe allergic reactions to tick bites - so bad that we carry a syringe of steroids with us. However, "preventic" collars make my vet feel much better about K being out in the woods. Since she started wearing one, she's had NO ticks attach to her. Of course, I'm sure that they still cruise around on her fur before falling off... and that might freak you out.

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