Ticks are responsible for the spread of a number of serious diseases, like Lyme disease, and exposure to ticks should be avoided by both pets and people. In this post, our Perry vets explain how these parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep your pets and family safe.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that bite and feed on the blood of animals and humans. Ticks do not fly or jump, they can only crawl, so they rely on hosts (usually animals) for transportation. If your pet is carrying a tick they can bring it into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are responsible for spreading a number of serious diseases, so they are dangerous to both people and pets. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Perry?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Perry and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog 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 can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to run your hands against your dog's fur so you can feel their skin and be aware of any unusual bumps you feel. It is also good to check behind and inside their ears, between their toes, around their necks, and between their toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks off your property it is best to keep your lawn well-trimmed as ticks prefer long grass. At the height of tick season, you may want to limit the amount of time your pet spends laying in the yard and keep them out of bushy areas when out and about.