This email is to bring to your attention the recent increased prevalence of ticks. In my experience, they tend to be very active just after the rains, and are at their peak from the first rains through early Spring.
As far as the health risks posed by ticks–my understanding, based on speaking with local veterinarians, is that the most cause for concern would come from a tick infected with a certain bacterium biting a person or dog, and infecting them with Lyme disease. My understanding is that a tick would have to be attached to a person or dog for 24 hours for the bacteria to infect the host, so the earlier they are found and removed, or killed, the less likely a dog or person would be to contract Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and is transmitted through the bite of an infected western black legged tick. According to the county of Los Angeles public health website, about 1 – 1.5% of western black legged ticks are infected, as opposed to 20 – 40% in the Northeast. The chances of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite in Los Angeles county seem relatively low, based on recorded data from the recent past: there have been 114 confirm cases in Los Angeles County from the period of 2000 – 2018, for an average of 6.33 cases per year, though there may be a higher number of unconfirmed cases. This data is for human contraction of Lyme disease, and I have not been able to find data for cases of Lyme disease and dogs for Los Angeles county.
In summary, it seems relatively unlikely that a tick would infect a person or dog with Lyme disease in Los Angeles county, but not impossible. To err on the side of caution, I would recommend using a topical tick medication that kills ticks. I’m definitely also open to looking at new data or information that could be helpful to my understanding, and that I could pass along to other owners.
As far as tick medications, K9 Advantix ll has been recommended to me by two vets, and I’ve seen success with it killing ticks. Nexgard has also been recommended, though it is a prescription. As far as pulling them off, smaller ticks may need tweezers if they have already attached to the skin. For fatter ticks that may have been overlooked and have sucked up a decent amount of blood, I have found that rolling them in circles until they become tired is a very effective way of removing them. I do pick them off of the dogs if I see them, but I definitely don’t get them all. Some informative articles are below.
Thank you so much for being part of the pack, and for your trust, and I hope to have another safe year with the dogs! Happy New Year!