Ticks are responsible for spreading several serious diseases, making them dangerous to animals and humans. Today our Orange Park vets talk about the ways these external parasites prosper, signs to look out for and how to keep your pets and family safe from ticks.
What are ticks?
Ticks are a type of external parasite that thrives on animal and human blood. They can't jump or fly and rely on living hosts for transportation (wild animals usually bring them to your property). As soon as they are on your property pets often become their hosts and bring these parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Due to the amount of serious diseases ticks can spread, they are a danger to both pets and people. Humans can get serious illnesses like Lyme Disease when tick saliva ( containing germs and bacteria) enters the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Orange Park?
The black-legged tick ( also called the deer tick) is one of the most found species of ticks in Orange Park and is the most responsible for the spread of Lyme disease in the state. Other ticks found here include the American dog tick and the lone star tick.
Ticks are often found in wooded, brushy areas and female and male black-legged ticks have oval, flat bodies. The bodies of the female deer ticks' are around 1/8" and are orangish-brown in color ( the abdomen is reddish-brown and becomes darker after they have fed on a host). The male deer ticks are reddish-brown all over, about 1/16" in size and are longer than wide with sharp, pointed tooth parts that can be easily seen from above. Tick exposure is possible year-round but they are mostly seen between April - September when the weather is warmer.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Always carefully check your pets for ticks after being outside, even if it was just for a short walk. Remember to look deep within their fur, behind and inside their ears, between their legs, around the neck, between their toes and in their mouths.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
There is a bunch of different methods you can use to prevent and get rid of ticks on your dog and small pets such as oral medications, spot-on treatments, tick collars and you can bathe your pets in shampoo which contains medicated ingredients and kills ticks on contact. Your veterinarian can help you to find the best option for both you and your pet.
You can also help keep ticks out of your yard by keeping your lawn nicely cut, giving ticks less space to breed and live lowering the number of ticks there. When tick season is at its highest it is also a good idea to limit the amount of time your pet is outside.