Ticks are definitely dangerous -these parasites threaten the health of our pets and family and can transmit serious diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Although many of us look forward to spring; unfortunately this is a time when tick activity increases. So it is important to take tick preventative measures to protect our pets from ticks this season.
Types of Ticks
There are over 800 species of ticks, but there are four dangerous types commonly found in America that pet owners should be especially wary of:
American Dog Tick
Spread throughout the U.S.A. and found in some regions of Canada and Mexico, this tick infests mammals large and small, including people. It is the major carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and transmits the bacteria that causes Hunter’s disease.
Brown Dog Tick
Small, and red-brown in colour, this tick is typically found in warmer climates, throughout Florida. Infestations are possible because it has the capacity to spend its entire life cycle indoors. They cause skin irritation, lameness and fever, particularly in dogs.
Lone Star Tick
This aggressive tick is found throughout the south-eastern and south-central states in the U.S.A. It is connected with the transmission of Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI). Females have a single white spot; males have spots and white streaks on the edge of their body.
Spotted Deer Tick
This tick is the prime transmitter of Lyme disease throughout the U.S.A. If spotted early, there is a chance the disease will not have been transmitted. If symptoms such as a rash, fever, fatigue, chills or joint pains occur, then you should immediately seek professional advice.
Check for Ticks
VetShopOnline recommends checking pets daily for ticks during spring. Check for bumps in the skin by running your hands all over your pet’s body. If you feel a bump, part the fur to closely examine. Ticks are dark brown or black in colour, they vary in size and sometimes their legs may be visible.
Ticks feed on the blood of other animals by latching on with their mouth. It is therefore very important that the entirety of the tick is removed, or infection may occur. Using tweezers promptly pull the tick out of your pet’s skin. Ensure you don’t crush the tick during the removal process because of the potential risk of spreading bacteria or disease. Treat the surrounding bite area with a disinfectant.
VetShopOnline recommends pet owners seek the advice of their local veterinarian if symptoms become apparent.
Tick Control Options
Thankfully, there are a variety of tick control treatment options available for responsible pet owners:
Tick collars, such as the Preventic Tick Collar and Kiltix Tick Collar; protect dogs from ticks without affecting their lifestyle.
Spot-on applications such as Frontline Plus and Advantix can be used once per month to control ticks.
Permoxin is an insecticidal spray and rinse for dogs only.
Ticks reside in tall, thick grasses and bushes ready to crawl onto a passing host animal to feed on their blood. So it’s a good idea to mow your lawn regularly and keep plants well trimmed.
Other Methods of Prevention
A few techniques can be put into practice around the home to minimise the risk of your pet coming in contact with ticks: