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Tick Attack

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

By Where the Love Is Volunteer Chris D.

Nov. 3, 2023

“What is that?” I asked my husband today as we were having lunch. Duffy, our white American Eskimo/Schipperke mix sat on the floor nearby. I jumped up and looked at the black speck on Duffy’s head. “TICK!” I yelled. I pinched off the vermin and flushed it down the toilet.

My husband and I gaped at each other. Just this morning, we were trying to decide whether to give Duffy his flea and tick medication for November as there had been a heavy frost the last two nights, which we (foolishly) believed would kill ticks. Even though our new veterinarian strongly suggested we administer the protection year round, we didn’t want to give Duffy any more drugs than absolutely necessary. So, out we went for our morning walk.

Five hours later, that tick changed our minds. Duffy got his medication -- and the same will most likely happen on the first of the month from now on.

It has been widely held that ticks die in cold weather. Not so any more with recent warmer winters, according to Dr. Thomas Mather, Director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease. “Some species, like American dog tick and Lone Star tick are just not active in fall and winter months. Others, like the Blacklegged (deer) tick can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing.” Even with freezing temperatures and snow, some ticks can survive, he said.

Right after lunch, I took Duffy to the back yard. He did crazy zoomies through the leaves and sniffed along the fence. I watched him happily… and rested easier knowing he was safe if another black speck decided to hitch a ride on his head.

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