Ticks are responsible for the spread of a number of serious diseases that are dangerous to people and pets. Today, our Argyle vets explain how these opportunistic parasites thrive, including signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets.
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, it's 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.
Ticks in Argyle
There are 5 different types of disease carrying ticks that are commonly found in grassy, forested or brushy areas across Texas (including farmland, parks, and nature preserves):
- Lonestar Tick- The Lonestar tick transmits a number of conditions to people and pets including Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii (which cause human ehrlichiosis), Heartland virus, tularemia, and Alpha-gal syndrome (meat allergy), and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).
- American Dog Tick - The American dog tick is responsible for transmitting Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Blacklegged Tick - Blacklegged ticks transmit Borrelia burgdorferi and B. mayonii which cause Lyme disease and other conditions.
- Brown Dog Tick - The brown dog tick is a common carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (in the Southwestern U.S. and along the U.S.-Mexico border).
- Gulf Coast Tick - Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis is a form of spotted fever which is transmitted by the Gulf Coast tick.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. It's important 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?
There are a number of different methods available 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.
Keep your lawn well-trimmed to discourage ticks from making your yard their home, and at the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.