Ticks can spread serious diseases that are dangerous to both pets and people. In this post, our Smyrna vets explain the dangers of ticks and how to keep your pet and family safe from tick-transmitted infections.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts for transportation. Usually, wild animals are responsible for bringing them onto your property, where they are often transferred to your pets and brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks can carry a number of serious diseases that can be spread to a pet or human when they bite and feed on them. Serious conditions, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted to humans and pets from infected ticks.
What do ticks look like in Smyrna?
The American dog tick is one of the most common tick species found in Smyrna GA and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick, the brown dog tick, and the black-legged tick (often responsible for Lyme disease).
Ticks have a flattened oval or teardrop-shaped body that can become plump and round after they feed. Ticks in the larvae stage have 6 legs. After feeding and maturing, they grow 2 additional legs for 8 legs total. They are typically between 2-6mm and reddish-brown to black in color. They have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Ticks do not have wings or antennae.
Due to our mild climate, tick exposure is possibly year-round.
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?
Prevention is the best protection method against ticks. There are oral medications, topical treatments, and tick collars that can protect your pet from ticks. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer areas 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.