THE TRUTH ABOUT TICKS!
Whether you have seen ticks on your pets or not, there is some important information we feel every pet parent should have.
THE TICK ENEMY
Ticks, like fleas, have an egg, larva, nymph and adult stage, but that is where their similarities end.
- After the egg, all 3 stages in many tick species will feed on your pet.
- Ticks feed year round: Most notably, the adult deer tick, which is known to transmit Lyme disease, is most active in its adult stage October through February.
- Why we (and dogs) don’t see or feel them:
- They are so small! Younger stages (which still feed on your pet) may be smaller than a poppy seed.
- They do not stay attached for very long.
- Their salivary glands secrete anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories and in some species anti-histamines that block the host body’s natural defenses and signals.
- They only get huge and engorged in the last phase of feeding.
- They do NOT leave a bullseye rash, sometimes seen in humans, on your pet’s skin.
- Ticks sense their meals coming: It’s called “questing.” They wait on vegetation with their first two pairs of legs out, ready to grasp on to their meal as it swipes by. They grab on and then climb up.
- They are spread throughout suburbia and urban settings by wildlife; they can be everywhere.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
- Ticks are disgusting feeders! They suck blood as well as regurgitate into the wound so the host gets what is inside of the tick.
- Ticks are like cesspools of viruses, protozoa, and bacteria, and they commonly transmit more than one disease agent at one feeding. They carry disease agents that researchers are still just discovering.
- The disease agents ticks carry can wreak havoc on immune systems which can lead to chronic and sometimes life-threatening illnesses.
- The more human housing encroaches on wildlife habitats and draws wildlife into neighborhoods, the more tick encounters there will be without having to even step foot in the woods.
- New tick species are moving into the Northeast and bringing their new diseases with them.
- You don’t want an engorged and mated female to drop off in your home and lay her thousands of eggs.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS (these things aren’t true)
- “Ticks die/don’t feed in the winter.”
- “Ticks fall from trees to feed.”
- “My pet stays in my yard and isn’t exposed to ticks.”
- “I can spray my lawn with something that kills ticks and we’ll be fine.”
- “I can find any ticks that get on my pet, so I don’t need any anti-tick products.”
- “The chemicals and drugs used to prevent tick problems are worse than the ticks themselves.”
- “If the mouthpart breaks off you need to dig it out.”
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Cut back tall grass and weeds around property boarders and keep lawns short.
- Use a tick product for your pets that kills quickly enough to prevent disease transmission, year round.
Learn more about ticks:
Manchester Veterinary Clinic, Inc - Veterinarians - Manchester - CT - Trusted Vets For Your Pets