It is impossible to avoid ticks, they are everywhere. They can be found in a park, on a hike in the forest or in an open field. However there are ways to prevent the diseases caused by ticks.
Ticks can transmit many diseases, including Lyme disease and Erlichia. “Tick Paralysis” is an uncommon complication of tick bites; it is caused by a neurotoxin secreted in the saliva of certain ticks. The signs (weakness and neurologic signs progressing to paralysis and even death) usually emerge 5-9 days after a tick attaches; removing the tick typically results in resolution of the signs within 24-72 hours.
After a walk it is a good idea to check your pet for ticks. Carefully and slowly run your fingers along your pets entire body including arm pits, look inside ears and between toes, etc. If you come across a small lump or swollen area without a visiable tick be sure to carefully check that the tick did not burrow its way under the skin.
If you find a tick, take a deep breath and grab your tweezers. It is best to use fine tipped tweezer and gently grasp the body. Pull the tick straight out ( do not twist) and ensure all parts are removed. It is important to remove not just the body but also the head. If there are any parts remaining in your pet disease is still a threat. Finding a tick is not an emergency, but you do want to remove ticks as soon as you see them. If a tick is attached for more than 24 hours, this increases the risk of it passing a disease to your pet.
After you remove a tick, monitor the site where the tick was attached for redness and swelling. (Some people find it helpful to circle the site with a marker so that you don’t forget where it was). You will also monitor your pet for early signs of illness such as lethargy and loss of appetite.
Finally, see your family vet so that you can discuss whether a tick- preventative medication (such as K9 Advantix) is appropriate for your pet.
The following link provides a tick information poster published by the CVMA (Canadian Veteriinary Medical Association) TICK POSTER