Ticks are capable of spreading a variety of quite serious diseases and, therefore, can be quite dangerous both to people and our pets. Here, our Egg Harbor Township veterinary team is here to explain how these external parasites thrive, what signs to look out for and how to keep them away from members of your household.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of both humans and animals. Since they aren't able to fly or jump like other external parasites, they rely on their hosts entirely for transportation from place to place. Once ticks are on your property, your pets will frequently become hosts and bring these parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Since ticks spread a variety of serious diseases, they can both be dangerous to pets and people.
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 do ticks look like in Egg Harbor Township?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in the Egg Harbor Township area and has the dubious distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick and American dog tick.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male deer ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a very short walk through tall grass or underbrush, check your pet very carefully for ticks. Make sure you look deep within their fur, behind and inside their ears, around their neck and between their 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.
In order to help keep ticks at bay, it's a good idea to, first and foremost, keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give these external parasites fewer places to live and breed around your home. At the absolute height of tick season, you will want to limit the amount of tie your pet spends outside.