Ticks are becoming more and more common and are a nuisance!!
Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of an animal. Ticks are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs and cats and can transmit serious and sometimes deadly diseases like Lyme disease. ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks are small, very patient and amazing in their capacity to locate their host/prey. They can sense a potential hosts presence from long distances. How often you see ticks on your dog and cat depends on the region of the country in which you live, the time of year, and habits of your pet, and how and when you use tick control products. You will find them attached and feeding or loose and wandering on your pet. Ticks can infest pets that spend most of their time indoors, and even ones that only spend brief periods of time outside can have ticks.
Ticks attach to your pet by inserting their mouthparts into your pets skin. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them to remain attached. After attaching to your pet, ticks begin feeding on their blood. Ticks that are attached and go unnoticed will grow in size over several days until they become completely engorged. They will then detach from your pet dropping off outside, inside, on popular places where your pet spends time like your furniture or bed. The places where ticks attach can become red and irritated.
Although its rare, ticks can consume enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs as a result of a toxin they produce while feeding. More important, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet. The disease with which most people are familiar is called Lyme disease. Another is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of your dog’s joints, resulting in painful lameness. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause fever, lameness, and other signs. There are also other diseases that ticks can transmit to your dog. Your veterinarian can answer questions about the diseases that are important where you live.
It is very difficult to prevent your pets exposure to ticks. The best method for keeping your pets free of ticks is by keeping your dog and cat on a tick preventative. Even indoor only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes. We can advise you about the best product for your dog or cat. The tick preventatives that we carry are safe and highly effective at controlling ticks and the many diseases they carry.
Don't panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat, even if your pet is on a preventative. Some preventatives kill ticks after they've come in contact with your pet. Ticks can hide easily under your pet's fur, so as an added measure of protection, we recommend checking your pet for ticks every time your pet comes in from outside and remove any loose or attached ticks right away.
Contact us immediately if your pet has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite, weight, energy, or coordination.
Ticks can attach to and feed on humans. The skin where ticks attach to humans can become red and irritated. Ticks that transmit diseases to your pet can also transmit many of the same diseases to people. It is important to realize that people do not get these diseases from their dogs. Both people and dogs get the diseases from ticks they come into contact with outdoors. Diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, can also be very serious in humans.
If you have questions about human diseases that are transmitted by ticks and how you can protect yourself, you should consult a doctor.
Brown Dog Tick:
American Dog Tick:
If you have a tick problem in your yard consider:
- treating the outdoor environment (be sure to understand what products you are using and how they affect the environment)
- making a landscape change to make the environment less tick friendly – this can be done by providing a 3 foot buffer between the lawn and any woods. Mulch, wood chips, or gravel work well, and help to decrease the migration of ticks into yards.
- ridding your yard of wild animals
Often more ticks are present or they are more active at certain times of the year. Your veterinarian can tell you how to avoid locations where large numbers of ticks are found.
Did you know?
- Just pulling off a tick can leave body parts attached to your pet. Ask us about proper tick removal and tick control.
- Ticks have four life stages: egg, larva (infant), nymph (immature), and adult (mature).
- There about 850 tick species.
- Tick infestations are more common in dogs than cats.
- Ticks are generally not born with disease agents. They acquire them during feeding and pass them along onto other animals during subsequent feedings.
- Adult ticks can live up to 3 years without a blood meal
- Pets may contract multiple diseases from a single tick bite.
- Ticks are arachnids. Meaning, they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than insects
- People can not catch Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever from infected dogs, but the same ticks that bite your pet can cause these illnesses and others if they bite humans.
- Ticks can't jump and don't fall from trees, They transfer onto hosts when animals or people walk through long grass, bushes and brush.