Ticks are responsible for the spread of a number of serious diseases and pose a serious health risk to both people and pets. Here, our Agua Dulce 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. These resourceful parasites 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?
Ticks are a danger to the health of both people and pets in Agua Dulce. 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.
What kind of ticks are problematic in Agua Dulce?
The Western black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is one of the most common ticks found in California and is the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis in this state. Other ticks in California include the Pacific Coast Tick, known to transmit spotted fever and tularemia, the American dog tick that can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and the Brown dog tick which can also be a carrier of the parasites that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
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?
There are a number of 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.
It's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed as a way to help keep ticks away from your yard. A yard with shorter grass and fewer shrub areas will give ticks fewer places 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.