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Tick Talk… It’s Tick Time Again!

Attached ticks cause inflammation and itching, which can lead to irritation and, potentially, secondary bacterial infections.

In addition, blood loss from ticks can become significant during heavy infestations. A few ticks feeding to capacity do not pose a threat to the host’s blood volume. However, in environments with intense tick populations, an animal may acquire hundreds or thousands of ticks, and severe blood loss may result.

Ticks also serve as vectors for and can transmit potentially fatal pathogens.

  • These pathogens include Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the cause of granulocytic anaplasmosis, Rickettsia species causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Babesiosis, Hepatozoonosis, Ehrlichiosis and Cytauxzoonosis.
  • Tick-borne diseases often present with similar clinical signs regardless of the infectious organisms involved. These signs may take weeks-months to appear.
  • Signs include: lethargy, fever, muscle pain, decreased appetite, discharge from the nostrils or eyes, lameness, increased drinking/urinating and hematologic (blood) abnormalities.
  • The majority of tick-borne disease agents cause mild to moderate illness in infected hosts, but several can be fatal in pets and humans.
  • Because ticks transmit multiple pathogens and dogs are often infested with numerous ticks, co-infection with multiple tick-borne disease agents is commonly seen and can result in more severe disease.
  • Vaccines are available for B burgdorferi in dogs but preventing infection with all of these pathogens depends on strict attention to tick control.

Remember that even though you are not likely to get a tick-borne disease directly from your pets, your pets can bring ticks into your environment that can also attach to you and thereby pose a threat to your health.

If you find ticks on your pet, aren’t sure you got all of the tick out, if your pet is showing any signs of illness, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding ticks and tick-borne illness, please make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss possible testing and treatment.


How to Prevent Ticks & Tick-Borne Disease

1. Acaricide (a substance that is toxic to ticks) use in pets well before tick exposure can help to repel or kill ticks that the pet is exposed to.

  • Options include: monthly topical solutions and collars (possibly less effective)
  • To be effective these must be applied to the pets well before exposure.
  • You should consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for your pet both in terms of efficacy and safety. Be sure to follow all label directions carefully.
  • DO NOT use products labeled only for dogs on your cat!

2. Follow the following protocols for tick habitats. This will decrease the overall number of ticks that have the opportunity to attach and feed.

  • If possible avoid areas heavily populated with ticks. Some tick species prefer wooded areas, while others are found in more open surroundings. Tick numbers are often greater along deer trails and other areas frequented by wildlife hosts, and in areas where deer bed down.
  • Wear protective clothing. Light-colored long pants and sleeves are protective and allow ticks to be more readily seen. Tucking pant legs into boots will limit tick access to skin, as will taping the waistband and cuffs of sleeves.
  • Apply repellents to humans – products containing DEET and permethrin.

3. Remove ticks promptly to prevent disease transmission.

  • Even when repellents and protective clothing are used, people should check themselves and their pets for ticks frequently, especially after venturing into prime tick habitat, to insure attached ticks are promptly removed. The longer a tick is attached, the greater the chance for transmission of an infectious disease to you or your pets.
  • To remove a tick safely and with the least risk of injury or infection to yourself or the animal, use forceps or a tick tool to grasp the tick mouthparts as close to the skin as possible and apply steady, rearward traction.
  • Once removed, save the intact tick for identification, in a vial with ethanol or trapped in a piece of tape that is then placed in the freezer. If the person or animal develops signs of a tick-borne disease in the next few weeks or months, having this tick may assist with prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
  • When removing ticks, DO NOT:
    – Quickly jerk or twist the tick out of the skin to avoid breaking the mouthparts and leaving a piece of the tick in the skin.
    – Apply a lit match or harsh chemical to the tick in an attempt to encourage it to release as this can induce regurgitation in the tick, hastening transmission of pathogens.
    – Crush the tick as this may result in exposure of people and pets to infectious material.

4. Protect the home environment.

  • Alter environment to make it less conducive to tick survival:
    – Removing and burning low-lying vegetation and leaf litter
    – Edging the yard with rocks or gravel
    – Excluding wildlife, where feasible
  • In areas with heavy tick infestations, have licensed pest control operators apply environmental sprays.


How do I become a veterinary technician?

This is the end to RVT week, a time to celebrate our technicians and what they do to help our clinics! In honor of this we will be talking about how to become a veterinary technician. To answer this question we must first look at what are veterinary technicians. "A veterinarian’s assistant, trained to provide medical care for animals, as performing diagnostic tests or administering vaccines and medication." - Now that is just putting it in the most simple terms. If we went in depth a bit more you would get the following. "Veterinary technicians are animal nurses (and much more). In addition to their nursing duties, they act as patient advocates, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians, anesthesia technicians, and surgery technicians. Except tasks legally restricted to veterinarians, such as diagnosing disease conditions, performing surgery, prescribing medications, and prognosing medical outcomes, veterinary technicians are trained to do everything a veterinary hospital requires to run smoothly." - AAHA Certainly! Veterinary technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare of animals. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, making them an integral part of the veterinary team. In fact, you may sometimes hear them referred to as veterinary technologists, as they possess a comprehensive understanding of various medical procedures and techniques. To become a veterinary technician, individuals typically undergo rigorous education and training. They typically enroll in specialized programs that span anywhere from 18 to 36 months. These programs provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their field. Upon completion, aspiring veterinary technicians may take a national exam known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates the breadth of the technician’s understanding across multiple species. With a total of 300 multiple-choice questions, covering various topics, this exam ensures that technicians are well-prepared to handle the diverse challenges encountered in their daily work. From animal anatomy and physiology to pharmacology and radiology, the VTNE examines their proficiency in all essential areas. Successfully passing the VTNE paves the way for technicians to become registered veterinary technicians (RVTs). The RVT title signifies their achievement and signifies their commitment to upholding high standards within the profession. As registered technicians, they can further contribute to the well-being and welfare of animals, working alongside veterinarians to provide exemplary care. In summary, veterinary technicians are highly skilled professionals who have invested significant time and effort into their education and training. Their role in the veterinary field is invaluable, as they bring expertise, compassion, and dedication to ensure the health and happiness of our beloved animal companions. So let’s simplify the steps into a list to become a technician! Research and Understand the Role: Take the time to learn about the responsibilities and duties of a veterinary technician. This will give you a clear understanding of what the profession entails. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent: To pursue a career as an RVT, you will need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Make sure you meet this prerequisite. Research Accredited Veterinary Technology Programs: Look for accredited veterinary technology programs in your area. These programs are designed to provide the necessary education and training to become an RVT. Choose the Right Program: Evaluate different veterinary technology programs based on factors such as curriculum, facilities, faculty, and clinical opportunities. Choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Enroll in a Veterinary Technology Program: Once you’ve selected a program, complete the application process and enroll. Be prepared to meet any admission requirements specific to the program. Attend and Complete the Program: Dedicate yourself to your studies and practical training during the veterinary technology program. Attend lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical rotations to gain the knowledge and skills required for the profession. Acquire Hands-on Experience: Seek out opportunities to gain practical experience in veterinary clinics or animal hospitals. Many programs offer externships or internships, which provide valuable real-world exposure. Prepare for the VTNE: The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a comprehensive exam that assesses your competency as an aspiring RVT. Study diligently and use preparation resources, such as practice exams and study guides, to enhance your chances of success. Schedule and Take the VTNE: Once you feel prepared, schedule your VTNE. The exam is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and can typically be taken at designated testing centers. Obtain State Licensure: After passing the VTNE, you will need to apply for state licensure. Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to complete the application process and submit the necessary documentation. Continuing Education and Career Development: As an RVT, it’s vital to stay current with advancements in veterinary medicine. Pursue continuing education opportunities, attend conferences, and consider specialization or advanced certifications to further enhance your knowledge and skills. Remember, the journey to becoming an RVT requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for animal care. Follow these steps to embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career in veterinary technology. Written by: Ashley G, VT Resources AAHA – NAVTA –

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