Fleas, ticks, mites, and lice are all looking for a free lunch and a cozy home, compliments of your APBT. Deer ticks are especially dangerous because they may carry Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, and sometime swollen glands in the neck. In areas where the deer tick is prevalent, avoid those wonderful walks in the woods, keep your lawn well trimmed, and take precautions to keep field mice from nesting in your home. Other types of ticks may also be dangerous. Ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick bites can cause paralysis in dogs. When you visit your veterinarian, ask for preventive suggestions based on your area of the country.
Ticks come in a variety of sizes, and in colors ranging from brown to gray to rather blue. They are fairly easy to see on an APBT because of her short coat. Ticks usually bed down on the dog's head or neck, but may be found anywhere on the body. During tick season (which, depending on where you live, can be spring, summer, and/or fall), examine your dog every day for ticks. Pay particular attention to your dog's neck, behind the ears, the armpits, and the groin.
Ear mites live in the ear canal, irritating your APBT's sensitive ears and producing a dry, rusty brown to black discharge. See your veterinarian if you suspect ear mites—the condition is easily treatable.
Lice seldom bother APBTs, and when they do they can be quickly destroyed with modern preparations. Fleas, on the other hand, are never easy to get rid of. They often become resistant, or actually adapt to insecticides, so new and updated versions of flea dips, powders, and sprays appear on the market every year (see the box on page 75).
Sarcoptic mange is caused by mites. It will make your APBT itch and you will see tiny red bumps and patchy, crusty areas on her body, legs, or stomach. Take her to the veterinarian. The condition is treatable and will respond to topical medication.
A different type of mite causes follicular mange. Also called demodectic mange or red mange, this condition may or may not make your APBT itch. Whether it bothers her or not, you will notice small, circular, moth-eaten-like patches, usually on her head and along the back, sides, and neck. Cases involving a young dog with only a few patches might be stress-related. Perhaps your APBT recently spent a few days in a boarding kennel. Some females, for example, get a patch or two of mange when they come into season for the first time. Your veterinarian has medication to clear up this condition, but if your APBT ever gets a generalized case of this mange (covering much of her body), don't use her (or him!) for breeding, as this susceptibility could be passed on.
If you find a tick on your dog, use a pair of tweezers to grasp it as close as possible to the dog's skin and pull it out using firm, steady pressure. Check to make sure you get the whole tick (mouth parts left in your dog's skin can cause an infection), then dab the wound with a little hydrogen peroxide and some antibiotic ointment. Watch for signs of inflammation.
Ticks carry very serious diseases that are transmittable to humans, so dispose of the tick safely. Never crush it between your fingers. Don't flush it down the toilet either, because the tick will survive the trip and infect another animal. Instead, use the tweezers to place the tick in a tight-sealing jar or plastic dish with a little alcohol, put on the lid, and dispose of the container in an outdoor garbage can. Wash the tweezers thoroughly with hot water and alcohol.
Your veterinarian knows which preparations work best in your area, so if your dog or your home is bothered by creepy crawlies, ask for professional help.
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Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.