Ticks are responsible for spreading a handful of serious diseases making them dangerous to the health of both people and pets. Here our vets in Edgewater talk to you about the ways these external parasites thrive, signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks from biting your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can't fly or jump and have to rely on hosts to get around. Wild animals are generally the ones that bring ticks on to your property. As soon as these parasites are in your yard they usually make your pets their hosts and use them to find their way into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks can spread many serious diseases that are dangerous to pets and thier human owners. People can get serious conditions and illnesses such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva (which contains bacteria and germs) get's into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Edgewater?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most frequently found tick species in Edgewater and it's responsible for spreading the most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's also joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, bat tick and brown dog tick.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male deer ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you are able to see clearly from above. Though tick exposure can occur year-round, they are most active during warmer spring and summer months (April to September).
How to check my pet for ticks?
You have to check your pet for ticks after bring outside, even if it's just after a short walk through bush and grass. Make sure to look deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
How can I get rid of or prevent ticks?
There is a variety of different methods you can use to get rid of and prevent ticks on small pets and dogs. These options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, and tick collars. There is even a shampoo containing medicated ingredients you can use to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Talk to your vet who can help you determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks out of your yard, keep your lawn well-trimmed, this will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around. When tick season is at it's height it's a a good idea to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.