Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases to humans as well as cats and dogs. Here, our Mooresville vets explain what you can do to protect your pet, and your family, from these external parasites.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites rely on hosts for transportation and food. Ticks feed on the blood of their hosts, including humans and animals.
Wild animals are commonly responsible for bringing ticks into backyards where pets can easily pick them up then bring them into the house.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are a danger to people and pets because they spread a number of serious diseases. The tick's saliva contains germs and bacteria which can be transmitted to people, sometimes leading to conditions such as alpha-gal allergy or Lyme disease.
What do ticks look like in North Carolina?
There are 5 different types of ticks found in North Carolina. The most commonly found species include the brown dog tick, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick.
Brown Dog Tick.
The brown dog tick is considered the most widespread tick species in the world and is typically found in warm climates. This tick is reddish-brown in color and approximately 1/8 of an inch in length before feeding. A brown dog tick that has fed will measure about 1/2 inch in length.
The American Dog Tick
This tick is often found in parks, along wooded paths, and in farm pasture. These parasites are reddish-brown in color with white or yellow markings. The male ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length while the females are somewhat larger and can grow up to a ½ inch in length once fed.
Lone star ticks
Female lone star ticks are easy to identify thanks to the white spot in the middle of their backs. These ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length and brown in color. Lone star ticks are responsible for passing along the alpha-gal allergy to people.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Ticks are relatively easy to spot due to their fairly large size. Examine deep in your pet's fur around the neck, between the toes, inside the ears, and between the legs.
It's a good idea to check your pet for ticks whenever your pet has been walking through fields of long grass or wooded areas.
How do I prevent or get rid of ticks?
There are a variety of methods available to help prevent and treat ticks on small pets and dogs. Options include oral medications, spot treatments, tick collars, and even bathing your pet with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients that kill ticks on contact.
It may also help to keep your lawn well-trimmed to prevent ticks from making your backyard their home.