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Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks are responsible for spreading various diseases that are serious and dangerous to both pets and humans. Here, our Pittsboro vets explain the ways ticks flourish, including how to recognize them and how you can keep these parasites away from your pets and family.  

What are ticks?

Ticks are a type of external parasite that consumes the blood of humans and animals. They are unable to jump or fly so they rely on hosts (generally wild animals are the ones responsible for carrying ticks onto your property) to move around. When they get on your property, pets frequently become their hosts and bring these parasites into your home.

What makes 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 Pittsboro?

The black-legged tick (also referred to as the deer tick) is one of the tick species that are found most often in Pittsboro and has the reputation for being the species responsible for the most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's accompanied by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick, and brown dog tick.

The black-legged tick can be spotted in wooded, bushy areas. Both male and female ticks have flat, oval-shaped bodies. However, 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 that you can clearly see from above. While you can be exposed to ticks year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).

How can I check my cat or dog for ticks?

Even after a short walk through bush and grass, you should carefully check your pet for ticks. Remember to look deep within your animal's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck, and between the toes. 

How to get rid of or prevent ticks?

There are a handful of different methods you can use to get rid of and prevent ticks on small pets, cats, and dogs. Your options consist of spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Talk to your vet to find out which option may be right for you and your pet.

To help keep ticks off of your property, you should keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will provide ticks with fewer spaces 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.

Contact our vets in Pittsboro today if your pet has ticks or to schedule an appointment at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital.

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Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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