Friday, April 7, 2017

Ticks on Pigs

What are ticks? Ticks are small arachnids, part of the order Parasitiformes. Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acari. Ticks are ectoparasites, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.

Ticks can be a serious problem in our pet pigs depending on where you live. Whether your pig spends most of their time inside or outside, they are bound to run into a tick at some point. Ticks carry many diseases that may affect you, your mini pig, or other pets. Below are some suggestions on prevention, how to remove a tick and control/repellents.

Tick growth over 7 days:

Prevention:

Mow it right. Mowing your lawn to the proper height and frequently reduces flea and tick hang-outs
Avoid over-watering. Fleas and ticks prefer moist environs. An over-watered or poorly draining lawn can extend an invitation to these insects.
Remove leaf litter.
Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
Consider cedar. Cedar mulch repels fleas and ticks. Use it to border areas where your pig likes to play or rest to keep insects from migrating into those areas. Place cedar mulch along the edges of your yard to form a barrier.
Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
Let the sun shine. Both ticks and fleas like shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your landscape.

How to remove a tick:

If a tick attaches to your pig, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the higher the risk of infection or disease transmission. If your pig is bitten by a tick, simply remove it and watch the area. If it becomes red, inflamed, or discolored, seek veterinary care. Tick bites can become infected by nasty bacteria from the tick’s mouth.

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

There is a new tool called a Tick Twister that seems to be a better way of removing the tick than tweezers which always seemed to squish the tick when I tried to remove it. I haven't had to use it yet, but it looks like it will do a better job than the tweezers.

Control / Repellents:

Aqua Spray - Repels biting insects such as black flies (gnats), ticks, fleas and mosquitoes without Pyrethrins, Pyrethroids, DEET or d-Limonene! Non-greasy, pleasantly scented, safe for pet pigs.

Some vets are now okaying the use of Frontline plus or Advantage plus on our pigs for tick control, but please pay attention to the weight recommendation to avoid overdosing. If you have any questions consult your vet.

Diatomeacous Earth food grade can be spread on the ground, on bedding, or even added to their feed. There are different grades of DE - make sure that it reads Food Grade as it is the only one safe for consumption. While it can be put on your pig - note that it is very drying and is not fast acting.


Remember to do daily checks of your pig to see if there are any ticks when giving belly rubs. They will thank you for it. 

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