Ticks are an external parasite which can spread a number of serious diseases. In this post, our Avon vets explain how these potentially dangerous creatures thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Tics are external parasites that feed on the blood on animals and humans. They don't fly or jump like mosquitos or fleas, and so they rely on hosts to transport them around. Usually, it is wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property. Once they are on your property, pets will frequently become hosts for ticks and then bring them into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. 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 do ticks look like in Avon?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Avon and has the dubious distinction as 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 brush or long grass, you should make sure you check yourself and your pet for ticks/ Be sure to check deep in your pet's fur, inside their ears, between their legs and toes and around their neck.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You can use a wide array of methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on you pets. These options can include oral medication, tick collars, medicinal shampoo and spot-on treatments. Make sure you speak with your evterinarian about the right option for combatting ticks for both you and your pet.
It's a good idea to keep your lawn well trimmed as well. This will give ticks fewer places to live and breed, reducing the risk of their presence around your home. At the height of tick season, you should strongly consider limiting the amount of time your pet spends outdoors.