Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. In this post, our Mandeville 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's the deal with 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.
How can I identify a tick in Mandeville?
Five disease-spreading tick species are endemic to Louisiana. These are the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick), the lone star tick, the American dog tick, the groundhog tick, and the brown dog 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).
Gulf Coast ticks are usually found in open and grassy fields. They are shiny in appearance with colours ranging from a bluish-white to a dark grey. Gulf Coast ticks are closely related to lone star ticks, which have reddish-brown oval bodies that turn slate grey after feeding.
American dog ticks and brown ticks are flat and oval in shape, and usually brown with whitish-grey markings, and can be found throughout the eastern united states.
How do I check to see if my pet has been bit by a tick?
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 protect my pet from 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.