Ticks are capable of spreading a number of serious diseases and, therefore, are quite dangerous both to pets and their owners. Here, our vets explain how these external parasites thrive, what signs of ticks to look out for and how our Astoria veterinary clinic can help to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
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—like wild animals or other infected pets—for transportation. Once they are in an area, pets will frequently become hosts and unknowingly bring these parasites into contact with you and your family.
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 Astoria?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Astoria 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?
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?
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.
To help keep ticks away from your pet, it's a good idea to keep any green space in your area well-trimmed. This gives ticks fewer places to live and breed and will reduce the risk of them being around. At the height of tick season, you will want to limit the amount of time your pet spends in high risk areas like thick underbrush and long grass.