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Your Jack Russell Puppy Care Checklist - Jack Russell Crazy Issue #28
April 07, 2012

Ticked Off!

Growing up in a woodsy area, my Mother was forever pulling ticks off our dogs. "Yes! I got another one!" she would exclaim, holding the offender up high caught helplessly between her tweezers. Her favorites were the female ticks that were swollen with blood. She was so proud of her collecting efforts that she showed off a little by displaying the tick carcasses in a alcohol filled mason jar on our bookshelf. Weird? Maybe a little.... By summers end, the jar was always completely filled and were a frequent reminder of just how many ticks were out and about. While she has not passed on the love of tick catching, she has definitely passed along the fear of them. My Jacks are so active and love to roll around in the grass that ticks are a huge concern. If not caught right away, a tick bite can have serious future implications.

A big problem with tick bites is that if your dog has been bitten, the symptoms can be subtle and he may have only one or two from a big list. The most common, noticeable symptoms are loss of appetite/weight loss, fever, lethargy, diarrhea, apparent arthritis or other unexplained issues with walking, neurological signs including seizures, muscle wasting, pale gums or tongue, weakness, increased thirst or urination, nosebleeds plus many, many other blood test indicators determined only through lab work. That's a lot of varied symptoms! Because tick bites can be hard to diagnose, if your Jack is having any one of these symptoms if can't hurt to check with your vet for blood tests.

So what can you do to help prevent a tick bite? In short of stopping your Jack from playing outside (yeah right!), you will need to be vigilant. A simple google search can put you in contact with special collars and sprays. This could potentially be a good option especially for those living in woody areas. There are some pluses and minus to sprays and collars that you can discuss with your vet. Because the collars contain chemicals, not everyone will want to use one for their Jack. In that case you will need to consistently check your dog after they have been outside. If you happen to spot a tick on your Jack, don't panic! You will need to remove it ASAP. The best way to do this is to don some rubber gloves (to protect yourself from a bite) and grab a pair of tweezers. (And if you are an avid hiker, you may want to keep these items in a backpack/fanny pack when you are out and about with your Jack). Attempt to hold down your wiggly dog while you use the tweezers and aim to get the head of the tick. Ticks have a cement like grip which makes removal difficult. Pull the tick straight out without any twisting or tugging. Then clean the wound and apply first aid cream. I personally like to mark on a calendar when I pulled the tick and what area of the body I found it on in case I need to recall it for the vet.

There are a couple options for disposing of the tick. One option is to store it in a small container in case your vet would need it for further diagnosis should any symptoms arise. Another option is to crush it with a stone. You can always do the tried and true mason jar with rubbing alcohol (plain water will not work!) like my Mother favored. And if you feeling pretty cheeky you could burn the tick in a fire. Whatever you do, make sure the tick is not set free to reinfect anyone. Then wash your hands thoroughly.

The great outdoors poses great benefits for our Jacks! Just be on the look out for those unwieldly little creatures and keep your Jack safe. And if you happen to keep your tick carcasses displayed in a alcohol filled mason jar.....more power to you :-)




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'Til Next Time...

Take care - and take care of your JRT!



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Tom McSherry and the Jack Russell Team

www.jack-russell-lover.com

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