Ticks can spread serious diseases and pose a dangerous health threat to people and pets throughout the West Valley. Today, our Tracy vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including which symptoms to watch for, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and people. They can't fly or jump and so rely on their 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 to ticks which are then brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks spread a number of diseases that pose a serious health threat to both people and pets. People can get diseases such as Lyme when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream. Lyme disease is pets is treatable however lyme in people is a much more serious health threat.
Which ticks are found around the Tracy area?
The Western black-legged tick, which is also known as the deer tick, is one of the most common tick species found in California and is responsible for most cases of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis around Tracy. Also found in California are the Pacific Coast tick which can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, the American dog tick which transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and the Brown dog tick which also carries Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a very short walk through bush and grass, it's important to 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?
There are 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 shampoos containing medicated ingredients that you can use to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer places to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around your home. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outdoors.