Ticks are dangerous parasites to both people and pets, spreading a number of diseases through their bites. In this post, our vets in Farmington Hills explain how these parasites thrive, including the signs to look for and how to keep them away from your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They rely on their hosts, usually wild animals like deer or birds, for transportation since they aren't able to fly or jump. Once ticks are on your property, it's likely that they will bite your pets, who will then bring these parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. 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 Farmington Hills?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Farmington Hills 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, American dog tick, groundhog tick and brown 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?
After even a short walk, make sure to carefully check your pet 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?
You can use a number of different methods for preventing or getting rid of ticks on your pet. These include spot treatments, tick collars, oral medications and medicated shampoo. 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.