ParrisHill Standard Poodles
Recommendations About Ticks and Fleas

I do not use any topical products or flea collars. I feel that all of our standard poodles carry the disease genes for many heartbreaking illnesses. In order to avoid triggering these illnesses, I try to stay away from unnecessary poisons. In feeding a raw food diet, I have found my dogs to be healthier with fewer major or minor problems. The garlic in the food is a natural flea deterrent. (Note from Carole, the webmaster: I didn't believe this at first when I read it, but in eight years of owning ParrisHill poodles and seeing garlic in action, I have never had to deal with a flea outbreak or treat for fleas!)

It is important to check the dog on a regular basis for ticks and fleas. Since I live in the number one county for Lyme disease in New Jersey, I go over the dogs just about every night during the major tick months in spring and fall. Ticks can be found all over the dog, but most often are found on the head, neck and ears, on the outer leather and on the inside, sometimes in the ear canal. If you run your fingers over the dogs skin you can feel even the tiniest bumps that are the deer tick nymphs before they are engorged. On the inside of the ear the tick is easily seen. If you find a tick, use a tick remover or a hemostat held parallel to the skin, grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick off. You can either flush it away, or put it in a small jar of rubbing alcohol which will kill it. Soak a cotton ball with peroxide and hold it on the spot for a few seconds to draw out any poisons that may have been left by the tick. Popular thought is that ticks have to be attached 24 hours and engorged for the dog to be infected. Also, not all ticks are carriers of the diseases.

My vet tests my dogs in the spring and fall with a simple in-office blood test called an IDEXX 4 dx Snap Test. It shows in about 20 minutes if the dog has been exposed to Heartworm, or the three tick borne diseases Lyme, Erlichia Canis or Erlichia Equi now called Anaplasma, phagcytophilum. If the dog shows positive for Lyme, more blood is sent to the IDEXX lab for a C6 quantitative test which will give a numerical value to the amount of Lyme antibodies. If the number is under 30 it means just exposure, but if over 30 a course of Doxycycline is recommended. It is important to treat if affected even though your dog has no symptoms as Lyme can destroy the kidneys. If positive for the Erlichias, blood will also be sent out for further analysis.

DO NOT VACCINATE AGAINST LYME. There are many problems with this vaccine and it has been withdrawn for humans. Dogs can come down with vaccine-induced Lyme which is an auto-immune problem and cannot be cured. You can only help the painful symptoms with some medications but you can never get rid of the arthritic disease.

There are a number of natural sprays that are supposed to ward off ticks and mosquitoes. One is called Bug Spray by Best Shot and is available at www.sitstay.com. The essential oil Rose Geranium seems to work well in combination with some other ingredients in other natural sprays that I have seen.

If you are worried about heartworm, don’t be. Heartworm in our area is pretty hard to come by. Many communities spray for mosquitoes and most people have their dogs on heartworm meds year round so there aren’t a lot of infected dogs running in your neighborhood. In the southeast it is another story. Check with your vet about the incidence of HW in your area. If you are worried, give your dog Black Walnut capsules from the health food store. One capsule per forty pounds or part. If you are a mosquito magnet you can take them too. One in the morning and one at night should be adequate. I started taking black walnut about ten years ago on the advice of a holistic vet and haven’t had a mosquito bite since. Before that I was always the first bitten!

Do not give RIMADYL or DERAMAXX for pain. These are only to be used for very old arthritic dogs but unfortunately are now offered for post-op pain and other less serious problems to young dogs. A side affect is DEATH which many vets, including mine, are not aware of. A standard poodle puppy died of liver failure after only four days on Rimadyl. Be cautious of Previcox too. Some adverse reactions are beginning to show up. Ascriptin, Maalox coated aspirin, is safer for mild pain. For a major surgery, a Fentanyl patch can be used. Dogs have a much higher pain tolerance then we do and usually don’t even require pain medication.

Please call me from your vet’s office before he/she gives your dog any unusual shot or medication. For example, the 6 month heartworm shot ProHeart 6, touted by vets to clients who couldn’t remember to give the once a month pills, has been recalled by Fort Dodge September ‘04 at the FDA’s order as more than 500 dogs had died from it and over 5500 adverse affects had been reported and only a small percentage of adverse affects are ever reported.

Revised February 2007

 


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