Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. In this post, our Hoquiam vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your 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 (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought 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 ticks are found in Hoquiam?
Ticks most commonly found in Washington state include:
- The Western Blacklegged Tick which can transmit Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Found primarily in western Washington and live in forested or brushy areas.
- The American Dog Tick lives throughout the state and prefers woodland areas, medium height grasses and shrubs between wetlands and woods, and sunny or open areas around woods. Diseases spread through the bite of American dog ticks include Tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
- The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is found throughout Washington state but prefers woodland areas, medium height grasses and shrubs between wetlands and woods, and sunny or open areas along the edge of woods. This species of tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, tularemia and can cause tick paralysis.
What tick borne diseases are seen in Hoquiam?
The tick-borne diseases known to be locally acquired in Washington state include babesiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick-borne relapsing fever, tick paralysis, and tularemia. However, it's important for pet owners to remember that many other tick borne diseases can be acquired through travel outside the state.
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 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.