No Time-Out for Ticks This Winter

The Fall 2016 prediction for this winter was for it to be a very harsh, cold winter — and it’s been anything but! (Hope I’m not jinxing our March.) Because of the very short stretches of temperatures in the teens and twenties, Ticks have been intermittently active all winter. Even in mid-February we have seen ticks on urban and suburban outdoor cats and dogs, which is unprecedented in my 40 years in veterinary medicine.

How does this happen? Ticks are very hardy buggers who find refuge under decaying leaves and mulch on the few really cold nights we have had. There is enough heat generated from decay that they can survive short spells of cold, only to emerge on the next 50 degree sunny day and climb up stems of weeds and bushes to drop off on the next animal that passes by.

In the past couple years, it was usually the third or fourth week of March when we began to get calls from clients who are seeing the young emerging very hungry ticks on their pets. This year we are recommending that if you don’t already have a product on all outside pets that repels ticks and kills them reliably within 24 hours, you do so immediately to prevent Lyme disease and the four other tick transmitted diseases seen locally. In January at PSVC, 33% of all dogs tested had antibodies to Lyme bacteria!

This year we are adding to our arsenal of rapid kill and repelling products with two new products. CATEGO is a flea and tick killing topical drop that is perfect for indoor / outdoor cats and will be replacing the discontinued Frontline Tritak for cats. In recent years, oral flea and tick products have been on the market, but because of their slow killing of ticks taking over 36-72 hours, we have not recommended them. To prevent Lyme disease transmission, you must kill ticks within 24 hours. Now there is a new monthly oral chewable SIMPARICA which fulfills our requirements for tick control to prevent Lyme disease. Dogs must be 6 months of age to start Simparica, so initially in puppies, topical Advantix must be used. We will still maintain supplies of our stalwart canine Tick and Flea products Advantix and Seresto Collars, as well as Advantage for indoor cats. Call us with any questions about these products.

To better assess the health of your pets’ teeth, we now have DIGITAL DENTAL X-RAY EQUIPMENT. This allows us to see hidden periodontal disease surrounding the tooth roots so that action can be taken to judiciously suggest treatment or extraction since our pets can’t tell us where it hurts them.


Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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