Consumer Reports: Protecting your pets from tick bites

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Nina Pineda reports on protecting your pets from tick bites.

Tick season is here and if your pet spends any time in the grass or woods, chances are you've spotted the blood-sucking creatures on yourself or your pet.

There are several tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, that can be serious for humans and pets. Consumer Reports has some simple ways to help protect your pet.

Meet Simon - he's a 120lb. Saint Bernard and full of energy, but last year he was in really bad shape.

"He couldn't even stand, he had a fever of 106, I think it was. I thought he was gonna die," said Jennifer Lyne, Simon's Owner.

Simon was diagnosed with a serious case of tick-borne Lyme disease. Fortunately, with antibiotics, a steroid and IV fluids, he made a full recovery.

The boys and their Mom check for ticks daily so he won't get sick again.

"If you find a tick, don't panic, especially if it's just crawling around and not attached. Not all ticks carry disease. And if a tick is embedded for less than 24 hours it greatly reduces the chance of your pet getting a tick borne disease like Lyme," said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

So always remove any ticks immediately. To remove the embedded ones, use a fine-nosed tweezer and keep an eye on your pet for suspicious symptoms.

"It's also important to use an oral or a topical anti-tick medication on your pet for the best protection. But, be sure to check with your vet before you use any of these treatments," said Roberts.

Your yard is the next battleground. Keep the grass low and clear out leaf piles to deprive ticks of hiding places, those steps are low tech and non-toxic.

Jennifer is considering having boxes containing pesticide-laced cotton installed on her lawn. The pesticide kills the ticks after tick hosts like chipmunks or mice crawl into the boxes and take the cotton for their nests. But don't worry, the pesticides doesn't hurt the animals.

Bait boxes are another type of tick prevention measure to install on your lawn. But you'll need to check with a licensed pest control professional to see what type of anti-tick technology is permitted in your community.

ONLINE:
Consumer Reports: How to Remove a Tick
Consumer Reports: Keep Your Pets Safe From Tick Bites
Consumer Reports: Bait Boxes Are a Safe Way to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

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