A message from Dr Wood….
Living in Minnesota never is a boring thing. I just came in from letting the dogs outside at 5 pm (on February 15th!!) and it is 43 degrees. What’s the deal? The upcoming few days appears to be a chance to see 60 degrees. We are usually locked in the deep freeze for mid-February almost every year. As I am writing this, the local 5pm news is reporting several Twin Cities golf courses are open and taking tee times today and for this weekend. I still want to go ice fishing.
This is a phenomenon that we do encounter very occasionally here in the Northland, and in the last 25 years that I have lived in Minnesota, perhaps 3 times I have witnessed it. My concern that leads me to write this piece pertains to my friends (two and four legged!!) that are excited to spend time outside in this season of springtime in wintertime.
We are quite likely to see an earlier than normal outbreak of tick exposure this year, resulting from this unusual warm up. Once the snow melts and sunshine reaches the grassy areas and leaf litter, those ticks that were sleeping in stasis awake and are ready to eat. This will pose a significant threat to those that are exposed.
My suggestion as a practicing veterinarian in the great state of Minnesota, is the best offense is a great defense. It is time to begin appropriate use of tick prevention now. I can go into much detail on the the available products, but we have a superb line-up of products available, but the following are my suggestions for my dog owning clients.
It is recommended to give all dogs a monthly oral product to prevent and treat intestinal parasite exposure. I like Heartgard Plus, Interceptor Plus, or Iverheart Max. All three are excellent choices and provide excellent intestinal parasite control. But I digress. The new generation of orally administered products that kill ticks are very exciting. Our hospital is using Nexgard, a monthly administered chewable product that kill ticks and fleas. This will be our third season using this product and it has been an amazing product in our battle against ticks and fleas. There are several topically applied products that work well, but dogs exposed to moderate to heavy tick numbers, we advise the concurrent use of a tick prevention collar (Scalibor or Seresto are great choices).
I welcome any with questions about what would best fit your canine friend, please give our hospital call and we can help define a plan that best fits your lifestyle.
I really do want to go ice fishing some more…..Until next time.
Dr. Jim Wood