Ticks are a danger to people and pets because a number of serious diseases are spread by this external parasite. Below, our Memphis vets explain what to look for, and how to keep ticks away from your family and your pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are external parasites that cannot fly or jump, but instead rely on hosts for transportation. In most cases ticks arrive on your property thanks to local wild animals. Once ticks have made their way to your property, pets often become hosts that go on to transport ticks into your house.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks can be dangerous to our health. Ticks have a number of germs and bacteria in their saliva which can transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, to people and pets.
What do Ticks look like in Tennessee?
In Tennessee there are up to 15 species of ticks. The brown dog tick, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick are the most common types of tick found in this area.
The Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog tick is most likely to inhabit warm environments. These ticks are reddish brown in color and are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length if they haven't fed, but can be up to a 1/2 inch in length when fully engorged.
The American Dog Tick
American dog ticks are reddish brown in color with white or yellow markings. They are often found in farm pastures, parks, and along wooded paths. These ticks are most active in the spring, summer and fall. The males are about 1/8 of an inch in length and females are somewhat bigger. The American dog tick can grow up to a ½ inch in length once fed.
The Lone Star Tick
People living in Tennessee are least likely to come in contact with the lone star tick. These ticks are most active from April through July. Lone star ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length and brown in color; the females have a white spot in the middle of their backs.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after short walks through grass and brush be sure to carefully check your dog for ticks. Check deep in the fur, between your pet's toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
There's a variety of different methods for getting rid of ticks as well as preventing ticks from making your pet their host. Oral medications, spot-on treatments, tick collars, and even bathing your pet with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients to kill ticks on contact, are all good options. For help in figuring out which is the best option for your pet, speak to your vet.
It's also a good idea to keep your lawn trimmed, since this will also help reduce ticks in your yard. Fewer areas for them to live and breed around your property, means fewer ticks will be around your pet. Limiting the amount of time your pet spends outside during the height of tick season may also be helpful.
Tick Prevention is part of our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.
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