Tick talk: Lets break out the calendar


Its a well-known fact in the veterinary world: Ticks can survive the cold. But pet owners may not realize thator may just flat out not believe you. Heres a quick fix to get them on your side.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night prevents ticks from the swift completion of their appointed rounds! (Courtesy of Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.)

Your veterinary clients are tired of hearing you talk about the importance of year-round tick prevention. You're tired of beating a dead horse. Your clients think you're just sucking them out of their money because, duh, ticks die when it's cold out!

You know that is so not the case.

Don't worry. Kathryn Reif, MSPH, PhD, tick researcher and assistant professor at Kansas State University (KSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, feels your pain-and she's here to help you set the record straight.

“Listen,” she said during a lecture last month at KSU's Tick Camp, a veterinary media event sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, “if you think it's a nice day, a tick thinks it's a nice day.”

In other words, ticks are almost always out and about. And even though you probably already knew this, your clients likely don't. Here's Dr. Reif's quick fix to help boost client education and compliance when it comes to tick prevention: a calendar.

Not just any calendar, of course, but a calendar of your city and the temperatures for each day. (Psst! You can find one here. Make sure the location is set to your area.) “If it's 35 degrees or warmer out,” Dr. Reif says, “you will find a tick-or a tick will find you.”

That's why she's all for kicking the notion of 365-day prevention and calling it 12-month prevention instead. “Look at a calendar of temperatures for your area,” she said to Tick Campers. “More likely than not, there will be days in every month where the temperature is 35 degrees or warmer. And that's a good visual to stand by.”

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