Mabel is living la dolce vita in Spain, but is feeling a little ticked off!
Never short of admiring looks wherever she goes (for obvious reasons!) Mabel this week has been plagued by the unwanted attention of numerous ticks, all wanting a nibble. The big worry for any pet owners in such circumstances, is the risk that Lyme's disease might develop, given that this can lead to recurrent or chronic lameness, painful muscles, persistent fatigue and other debilitating conditions.
It's important to be aware at this point, that not all ticks carry the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria responsible for the disease. The risk of infection depends on the prevalence of the organism in the local tick population - which varies from place to place. Nevertheless, it's essential to take any bite seriously, and to take steps to reduce the number of times a pet is bitten as much as possible.
So how can Mabel's Mum make her less attractive (a tall order!) to these blood thirsty parasites?
The first step is to apply a natural deterrent to the coat.
One that we've found effective over the years is as follows:
1. Fill a 500ml spray bottle with mineral / spring water.
2. Add 6 drops of organic neem, rose geranium, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils and shake vigorously to create an emulsion.
3. Apply to a small hairless area inside the thigh and wait 48 hours to make sure there is no skin reaction before using on the rest of the body.
4. Shake vigorously (this needs to be done every time the mixture is used), spray down the back and both sides, and allow to dry.
5. As long as no reddening of the skin occurs anywhere, repeat once or twice weekly during the tick season.
Most parasiticidal drops suggested by vets to protect against ticks, are nerve poisons of one form or another, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal reactions in sensitive pets, and for this reason are not to be used lightly. In August 2021 for example, the FDA issued this warning.
Next, what can be done to help Mabel to stay healthy when she is bitten?
1. Remove the tick as soon as possible using one of the removers that are widely available.
2. Clean the area using a cotton wool ball and a few drops of Insect Irritation. The botanicals in the remedy soothe the wound and relieve any itching present.
3. Give 2-3 drops of Injection Visit 3 times daily for 48 hours whenever there is a bite (which is similar to an injection on a microscopic scale). This helps the body's natural defences at the injured site, and in the subcutaneous tissues beneath to mount a healthy reaction to any invaders.
4. Double the amount of Immunity being given the diet for several days, to help the immune system cope successfully with whatever microbes might be introduced by a tick bite. (If this supplement isn't already being used, it is wise to do this now.)
5. If despite all of the above, Mabel becomes unwell in herself (loss of appetite, limping, high temperature etc.) then a trip to the vet is advisable, as the organism is susceptible to certain types of antibiotics, and early treatment helps to prevent long term health issues developing.
All of the above are highly effective prophylactic measures, for any dog likely to be exposed to ticks.
If this is your pet, be sure to have everything you might need to hand, well in advance.