Ticks are capable of spreading a number of quite serious diseases and, therefore, can be quite dangerous both to pets and people. Here, out Murfreesboro vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including what signs you will have to be aware of and how to keep ticks far from your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of people and animals. They don't fly or jump, so they generally rely on hosts (usually wild animals) for transportation. Once ticks are on your property, pets will frequently become hosts themselves and then bring these parasites 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 Murfreesboro?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Murfreesboro and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the brown dog tick and winter tick among others.
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 check my pet for ticks?
Even after only a short walk through bushes and grass, make sure you check your dog carefully for ticks. Make sure to look deep within their fur, inside and behind their ears around their neck and between their toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
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.
In order to help keep ticks aware of your yard, it's generally a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer places to breed as well as reduce the risks of them being around. At the peak of tick season, in the warmer months, you'll also want to limit the time your pet spends outside.