Ticks are capable of spreading a number of serious diseases and as a result, can be dangerous to both people and pets. Here, our Moreno Valley vets explain how these external parasites thrive, what signs to look for and how to keep ticks away from your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are an external parasite that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They aren't able to fly or jump and so, instead, they rely on hosts (usually wild animals like birds and deer), for transportation. Once they are on your property, ticks will frequently make your pet their host and then be brought in to 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 do ticks look like in Moreno Valley?
Western blacklegged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) are one of the most common tick species found in Moreno Valley and has the unfortunate distinction of being responsible for many of the cases of Lyme disease in California. It's joined by the American dog tick, groundhog tick, lone star tick and brown dog tick.
The western blacklegged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While 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 you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months.
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 variety of different methods to get rid of or prevent ticks from using your pet a s a host. Your options include spot-on treatments, tick collars, a medicated shampoo and oral medications, Ask your vet to determine the right option for you and for 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.