Ticks are responsible for spreading numerous diseases that are serious and dangerous to the health of both pets and people. Today, our Milledgeville vets discuss the ways ticks thrive, as well as the signs of ticks, and how you can keep your family and pets safe.
What are ticks?
Ticks are a type of external parasite that feeds on human and animal blood. They are unable to fly or jump, so they need hosts (generally, wild animals are the ones responsible for carrying ticks onto your property) to get around. When they get on to your property, pets often become the hosts and bring these parasites into your home.
What makes ticks dangerous?
Ticks are dangerous to pets and people because they transmit a range of serious diseases. People can get serious illnesses including Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—enters the bloodstream.
What do Milledgeville ticks look like?
The black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is one of the more common tick species in Milledgeville and is known for being the species most responsible for spreading 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, bushy 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 that can be clearly seen from above. Even though tick exposure happens all year, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How can I tell if my pet has ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, carefully check your dog for ticks. Remember to look deep within your companion's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck, and between the toes.
How can prevent or get rid of ticks?
There are. various methods available that you can use to get rid of, and prevent ticks on cats and dogs. Some of your options are spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients to bathe your pet in and kill ticks on contact. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best possible option for you and your cat or dog.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.