Ticks pose a real danger to people and pets in the Waxhaw area. These external parasites can spread a number of serious diseases. In today's blog our vets explain some ways to spot ticks and how to keep them away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animal and people. These pests do not fly or jump, but rely on 'hosts' for transportation.
Often wild animals act as hosts to ticks and bring them onto your property, and into your backyard. Once ticks are on your property, it's easy for your unsuspecting pets to become hosts and introduce ticks into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because they spread a number of serious diseases, ticks are a danger to people and pets. The tick's saliva contains germs and bacteria that can be transmitted to people and lead to diseases such as Lyme disease.
What do Ticks look like in Waxhaw?
In North Carolina there are as many as 15 different species of ticks. Ticks most commonly found in this area include the American dog tick, brown dog tick, and the lone star tick.
The American Dog Tick
This tick is most active in the spring, summer and fall. American dog ticks are reddish brown in color with white or yellow markings. The male ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length and females are a bit larger and can grow up to a ½ inch in length when fully engorged. These ticks are most commonly found in farm pastures, along wooded paths, and in parks.
The Brown Dog Tick
You are most likely to spot the brown dog tick in warm environments. These ticks are a reddish brown color and are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length before feeding, and up to a 1/2 inch in length once fed.
The Lone Star Tick
Lone star ticks are easily recognizable because of a conspicuous white dot on the back of the females. The adult ticks are reddish-brown in color, and have round bodies. Lone star ticks are frequently found in forested areas and are most active from April through July.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Adult ticks are relatively easy to spot. Examine your dog carefully for ticks, even after short walks through forest or grassy areas. Be sure to check between your dog's toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck, deep in the fur.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
For dogs and other small pets there are many different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks. Oral medications, spot treatments, tick collars, and shampoos are available to help kill ticks on your pet. Ask your vet to help you find the right product for your animal.
If there are fewer areas for ticks to live and breed, there will be fewer of them around. Keeping your lawn well trimmed can help to reduce ticks in your yard. To reduce your pet's exposure to ticks you may want to consider limited the amount of time your pet spends outside during the height of tick season.