Sunday, October 21, 2012

Walk in The Woods with Ticks-Oh No!

On Sunday morning we decided to take the Weasley, Bob, and Tubby for a hike on the Hackenberry Trail  about an hour drive from our home.  It was a very pretty walk with lovely views of the foliage.

The walk was nice and isolated, we didn't see another person or dog the entire time, and the dogs had a great time smelling all the trees and leaves.  The trouble began when we got back to the car.  See the woods where apparently filled with a major mischief maker, this guy:  
The American deer tick, the pesky little bugger who carries Lyme disease.  They love to hang out in woods, tall grass, and leaves.  With rising global temperatures they are around more of the year and are becoming a bigger problem.  These days its not unusual to get ticks walking in a city park, but the biggest risk comes from walking in the woods.  So while walking through the woods of Norther New Jersey it is no surprise that we ran into plenty of them.

  The dogs where covered, and I mean covered, with ticks.  I have hard that ticks are becoming immune to Frontline and after today's experience I am definitely agree   When we got home we spent at least an hour taking ticks of the dogs, thankfully none where engorged, so perhaps the Frontline is doing something.    

Here is the best method for removing Ticks:

Removing Ticks that are Not Engorged:

1) Fill a jar with a lid with rubbing alcohol.
2) Comb the dog and check carefully for any ticks that are walking around the body.  Pick them off and immediately put them in the jar.  You can not crush a tick and kill it, you must drown it in the jar.  Seal the lid on the jar tightly to prevent escape.
3) Make sure to check yourself as well, if there are lots of ticks on your dog there are probably ticks on you.

Removing Ticks that are Engorged

1) At this point you need a tick key.
2) The tick will  usually look like a shiny lump or skin tag. 

Here is the You Tube video showing how to remove the tick

If you find an engorged tick on your dog and you live in one of the areas where Lyme Disease is prevalent (In NJ about 50% of deer ticks are positive for Lyme) I would recommend taking your dog to the vet for a test. (If the ticks are not engorged you don't have to worry).   The tests do not actually determine if your dog has an active Lyme disease infection, but they will see if your dog has antibodies to it.  Remember if your dog has had the vaccine he will always test positive.  In my opinion  the vaccine in not the way to go as it is not a 100% effective but makes the test moot and evidence indicates that we are over vaccinating our dogs anyway.   Not every dog exposed to Lyme and with a positive test gets an active Lyme disease infection, but it is still a good idea to treat with antibiotics because Lyme has been linked to kidney failure and lameness,  as well as other health problems.   Once a dog has been exposed to Lyme even if they are successfully treated their antibody titer may remain high for the rest of their life.   I monitor Norbert's antibody levels yearly and they stay above normal.  However, they went down by more then 50% after his initial treatment with antibiotics so now we just watch for an increase.  If the levels go up again we will treat with more antibiotics.

Below is a map of the areas in the US most heavily effected by Lyme disease (though it says human risk, where there is risk to human their is risk to dogs, and actually more risk since dogs are lower to the ground, have hair, and love running through grass, leaves, and bushes.


  1. That was a great post, very imformative and the pictures of your walk were great...
    We have lots of deer tics here but not the lyme disese level you have.
    Thanks again for the informative video.

  2. Ticks are nasty creatures :(

    Stop on by for a visit

  3. Great informative post! Ticks are SO hard to see on Nola's fur
    Nola's Mom

  4. We always get our nose wrinkles checked for ticks, ever since Puglet found one in his nose wrinkle. We wish we didn't have to end a fun day in the woods with a full body inspection. It looks like you had a great day.
    ~Zoey & Phoebe

  5. Beautiful. Looks like its getting chilly. That Lyme disease is scary
    Benny & Lily

  6. Very informative post. So sorry that your fun walk in the woods required so much "aftercare." I imagine you were scratching your heads for the rest of the evening. The words "flea," "tick" and "lice." always get me scratchin'.

  7. My sister mentioned to me how scary Lyme disease can be in your country. It's plain scary. Have you tried Bayer Advantage? That's what we used with our dogs. The ticks just fall out when the medicine is applied on their back. You guys should try it.

    Huggies and Cheese,


  8. Eek, how awful. I'm glad we don't get Lyme disease in England, I would probably never dare walk in the woods!
    Lynne x

  9. Yikes. We are lucky over here and we only get them in the deer parks which I am not allowed to go to as I can't be trusted. Mind you interesting to know what to do just in case. Thanks. Have a lovely Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  10. Great photos. We love it. And the informationon ticks is well appreciated. Thank you soooo much.

  11. Oh I just hate ticks! They just freak me out. There used to be lots where my parents lived and they used to just burn them with a match. It's too bad you had to deal with so many after such a beautiful outing. That Tick Key is pretty neat!

  12. WOW ... it looks like everyone was having a great time, but the ticks just ruined that! Hopefully they were all found and removed!

    Love Zoe, Peyton, Webster, Libety & Whitney

  13. What a beautiful walk!!! You should read what happened to me and ticks in my post today! Glad you caught them on your guys before it was too late!!

  14. What a beautiful walk with a icky ending....thanks for the informative post though!!
    stella rose

  15. I absolutely HATE ticks. My county in Virginia, Loudoun, has one of the highest incidences of Lyme in the country. I've had it 3 out of the last 4 summers and so have my dogs. It's horrible!

  16. What a beautiful trail and glad you had fun! But sorry to hear about ticks. Glad no one was engorged. It's so scary! Thank you for your detailed information!

  17. Woof! Woof! Looks like a beautiful place for a walk but the TICKS. Be very careful. Happy MM. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  18. Eeeuugh, we hate ticks. We've never had a problem here in the Uk, although I know others who have, but in France we've had BIG problems in the past with our old lady Jasmine....she nearly died twice from a nasty tick-borne disease.....really worrying at the time, it's not a disease known in the UK thank goodness. We're super vigilant with the girls now when we go to France between April & Sept when they're about. Nasty little blighters.

  19. Wez saved your post az that waz so useful..I'z never had a tick but I do go to the wood'z, and who say'z we don't have em in the UK! Nasty little buggers! xx00xx
    Mollie and Alfie

  20. I find brushing them after their walks really has cut down on the ticks for us. Plus i spray them everytime we go out. It IS more work but no ticks is the payoff! Nice post.

  21. We see a lot of ticks around here this time of the year too! ECK!

  22. what a nice walk! the ticks are scary though! we didn't see any on the pugs this year, but we got FLEAS even though every little critter in this house had on frontline. our vet said it wasn't working in our area this year so we had to switch to another thing.