We recommend checking for three tick diseases yearly at our clinic. In 2019, 16% of our patients tested were positive for at least one disease transmitted by ticks. This may not seem like a huge number, however, that is 677 of OUR patients alone! Imagine what the number is for the whole city of Eagan!

No longer are the days where you only need to worry about those going “up north.” Ticks have migrated to our lovely city and are just as much a threat to the Yorkie sniffing along the sidewalk for a place to potty as they are to the Lab hiking with its owner in the boundary waters. Ticks are local. They are sturdy and stubborn little fellas.

Luckily, there are options to combat them and protect our pets! Frontline Gold is a monthly topical medication that’s applied along the spine, from between the shoulder blades to the base of the tail. This product spreads through the dog’s skin and begins to affect fleas & ticks as they are walking through the dog’s coat. Nexgard is a tasty chew that’s given once monthly. Nexgard is spread through the dog’s bloodstream and begins to affect the fleas & ticks when they bite the dog. Both products have their pros and cons, but, most importantly, they both work quickly. Diseases take a few hours to transmit from the tick to your dog. Both products kill ticks fast enough to prevent the spread of disease.

So, we have great products and a seemingly never-ending winter in Minnesota—how are so many dogs positive for tick diseases?! The most-likely reason is inconsistent use of these preventatives. We have a false sense of security in the winter months. Surely, we do not need to work about bugs when the ground is covered in snow? Wrong. Ticks do not die in the winter. They hibernate. I’ll repeat that: ticks do not die in the winter!

We are more like ticks than we’d like to admit. What happens when we get that beautiful, warm day in the 30s during the winter? We wake up from our winter hibernation and venture outside for fresh air—as do ticks, and they’re hungry. While sometimes brutal, winters in Minnesota are unpredictable. From November 2019 through February 2020, we had 75 days above 30 degrees. That means 62% of the days in winter months are warm enough for ticks to be active.

With a higher prevalence of ticks in Eagan, plus warmer weather, it’s more important than ever to provide your dog with year-round tick prevention.

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