Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. In this post, our Corpus Christi 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, wild animals 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 or ehrlichiosis when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Corpus Christi?
The four most common ticks in Texas are the American dog tick, lone star ticks, brown dog ticks, and black-legged ticks.
Though they have subtle differences in the way they look, all ticks generally have oval-shaped bodies that narrow near their heads and 8 legs (yes, they are part of the spider family).
If you or your pet are bitten by a tick, it is important to keep it after you remove it (or have this done by a professional). Different ticks carry different types of disease, so identification is key.
Ticks prefer living in grassy or brushy areas and are commonly picked up while hiking or walking on trails. Due to the warm climate in Texas, ticks may be active all year round but are most active during the spring and summer months.
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.