Ticks are capable of spreading a number of serious diseases and, therefore, can be dangerous to both pets and people. Here, our Maury County vets explain how these parasites thrive, including what to look out for and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are an external parasite that feeds on the blood of humans and other animals. They don't' jump or fly, so they generally rely on hosts for transport (these are often wild animals like deer or birds). Once ticks are on your property, there is a danger that your pet will become a host and 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 Maury County?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Maury County and has the dubious distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in Tennessee. It's joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, and Asian longhorned tick.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy 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?
After even a brief stroll through grass or brush, make sure to check your dog carefully for ticks. This includes deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside 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.
To help reduce the number of ticks around you home, it can be a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This gives ticks fewer places to live and breed, encouraging them to hang around elsewhere. At the height of tick season, it would also be advisable to limit the amount of time your pet spend outdoors.