Ticks can be a serious issue for both people and pets and are responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease around the world. In this post, our Snellville vets share some information about ticks and how they survive as well as how to monitor and treat your pet if they are bitten by one of these parasites.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, wild animals 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.
What are the dangers of ticks and their bite?
Ticks are known to transmit a variety of serious diseases, making them a danger 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.
How to watch for ticks in the Snellville area?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Snellville 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, 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 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?
No matter the length of time you were walking through bush or grass you should always check over your dog as soon as you are done. 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.
How can I treat my pet if they have been bit by a tick?
You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options 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.
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. During peak tick season you may want to find alternate forms of exercise and stimulation in order to limit the possibility of your pet coming into contact with a tick.