Ticks can cause a variety of severe conditions in both humans and pets. Today, our Gardena vets discuss what ticks need to survive what to look for and how to protect yourself and your pets.
What are ticks?
External parasites such as ticks survive by feeding on the blood mammals. They are transmitted by traveling on the host animals that they feed on, moving from animal to animal. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought into your home.
Should I be worried about ticks?
Ticks are as dangerous to both humans and animals as they can spread various diseases that can be potentially life-threatening. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What types of ticks live in Gardena?
In Gardena the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is the most commonly reported species of tick found and is known for being the species responsible for the majority of Lyme disease in our state. Other ticks that can be found here are lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick and brown dog tick.
Both male and female black-legged ticks have flat, oval bodies and are found in wooded, brushy areas. 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 inspect my pet for ticks?
Anytime that you and your dog walk through any tall grass you should check over both you and your pet thoroughly. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
What is the best way to remove or prevent ticks?
There are a number of treatment options in case your pet has picked up a tick. These treatment methods could 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.
In order to help prevent ticks, it is recommended to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will reduce the risk of your pet contracting ticks, and reduce the risk associated with ticks. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.