The American dog tick is increasingly common in San Joaquin County.  If found on your pet, a tick should be removed by firmly grasping it with a pair of tweezers next to the animal's skin and pulling the tick away with a gentle but steady motion.  Do not squeeze the tick's body, as this may inject saliva into the animal, causing irritation and potentially transmitting disease.  Tick bites can cause a permanent paralysis.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erhlichiosis, and Lyme disease are a few of the infectious diseases that can be spread by ticks.  While these diseases are uncommon, the consequences of infection are potentially devastating both to companion animals and their owners.

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a 100% effective solution to the problem of tick infestation.  Preventic collars are the most effective tick control agents available. Collars should be replaced at monthly intervals and be applied at least three days before venturing into tick-infected areas. Animals should be restricted from areas with large amounts of dead vegetation.  Caution should be exercised when purchasing firewood, as in our county the wood frequently originates from tick-infested foothill areas.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a serious threat to human and animal health.  Fortunately,  Lyme Disease is virtually nonexistent in San Joaquin county, since its vector (agent of spread), the deer tick, is rare in our area.  The photo on the right shows the developmental forms of the deer tick next to a dime (upper left corner) for perspective. Deer ticks are much smaller than dog ticks. They bury themselves more deeply into the skin and are more difficult to remove. 

Deer ticks are common on the Coast and in the Sierra Foothills.  Since the efficacy of the Lyme vaccine is questionable, we recommend the use of Preventic collars to protect against Lyme Disease for dogs traveling in tick-infested areas on the Coast and in the Foothills.