Know Your Ticks

Veterinarian removes tick from dog's ear.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that ticks in every U.S. state carry diseases, and the number of tick-borne diseases is increasing.  These diseases are not just isolated to your pets but can be easily transmitted to humans. The most widely known and common tick disease is Lyme, but ticks also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and many other serious diseases.  

Ticks are most active between April and November but in warmer climates like ours, ticks can be found at anytime of the year.  During winter, some species of ticks will move indoors in search of warmth, people, and pets. There are even some species that make a type of antifreeze to survive during the winter months.  Thus, the need and importance of keeping your pets safe by using a year-round tick preventive.

The four most common ticks are the The Lone Star tick, The Gulf Coast tick, The American Dog tick, and The Brown Dog tick.  The Lone Star tick actively hunts for its host versus passively waiting for an opportunity. They tend to be active as early as February and are found not only in the southern U.S. but most of the eastern two-thirds of the country.  The Gulf Coast tick is very large and aggressive as it will jump onto the first available host, quickly beginning to feed. They tend to be active as early as February and are found in the south, by the Gulf Coast, and have been migrating north to include the central East Coast and states such as Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio.   The American Dog tick lives up to its name by going after dogs but in reality it has no preference of host and will infest cats, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels. Like the Lone Star and Gulf Coast ticks, it is active in early February and is found within most of North America except higher elevation areas such as the Rocky Mountains and extreme Southwest.  The Brown Dog tick is the only species of tick that prefers to feed off of dogs through all of its life stages. It can survive at much lower humidity compared to other ticks and is the only species in North America that can infest buildings and homes. These ticks are found anywhere dogs are and are active year-round since they live inside homes and kennels, making their way into carpets and upholstery.  


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