Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases making them a huge health risk to Kittrell pets and their families. Our Kittrell vets explain all about these pesky parasites, what signs to watch for, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed solely on blood from animals and humans. They can't jump or fly, they can only rely on their host (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are incredibly 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 Kittrell?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Kittrell 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, 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?
After walking through any amount of brush or grass, you should be checking your dog thoroughly for ticks. Make sure you check deep within their fur, behind and inside ears, around their neck, between legs, and between toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
There are many options available to get rid of or prevent ticks from snacking on your small pets and dogs. Options include oral medication, spot-on treatment, tick collars, and even shampoos containing medications that kill ticks on contact. Talk with your vet to determine which option is best suited to your pet's lifestyle.
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.