Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. In this post, our Rabun County vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
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, its 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 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 Rabun County?
There are three common species of ticks in The Lone Star tick has unusually long mouthparts. The female has a single white spot in the middle of her back, while the white markings on the male are diffuse. It's joined by the Black Legged tick and American dog tick.
Lone Star ticks are particularly common in bushy, bottomland areas where deer are prevalent. The American dog tick has shorter mouthparts. Both males and females have diffuse white markings on their backs. Dogs are the preferred host, but this tick will feed on a variety of large animals, including humans. The black-legged tick is smaller than the other two ticks and has no white markings on its back. This tick is common on white-tailed deer, dogs, birds, humans, and other large mammals as well as a variety of small rodents.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. 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 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.
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.