Ticks are responsible for the spread of many serious diseases in pets and people. Today, our Grand Prairie vets explain how these common external parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
Ticks & Disease
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals including humans. These common parasites do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually wild animals) for transportation. Once these parasites find their way to your property, pets frequently become hosts and the ticks are then brought into your home.
The Dangers of Ticks
Ticks spread a number of diseases that can become serious health issues for both people and pets. People can become ill with chronic conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
Ticks in Grand Prairie
There are 5 different types of disease carrying ticks that are commonly found in grassy, forested or brushy areas across Texas (including farmland, parks, and nature preserves):
- American Dog Tick - The American dog tick is responsible for transmitting Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Blacklegged Tick - Blacklegged ticks transmit Borrelia burgdorferi and B. mayonii which cause Lyme disease and other conditions.
- Brown Dog Tick - The brown dog tick is a common carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (in the Southwestern U.S. and along the U.S.-Mexico border).
- Gulf Coast Tick - Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis is a form of spotted fever which is transmitted by the Gulf Coast tick.
- Lonestar Tick- The Lonestar tick transmits a number of conditions to people and pets including Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii (which cause human ehrlichiosis), Heartland virus, tularemia, and Alpha-gal syndrome (meat allergy), and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).
Checking for Ticks
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to look deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between your pet's toes.
Protecting Your Pet Against Tick Borne Diseases
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.