Ticks spread a number of serious diseases that pose a danger to the health of both people and pets. Here, our Tracy vets explain how these common external parasites thrive, including signs to watch for and how to keep ticks away from your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals to survive (including humans). Ticks rely on hosts (animals they latch on to) for transportation since they are unable to jump or fly. Once they find their way to 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 chronic 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 Tracy?
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 the Tracy area. 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 spreads Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for any ticks that may have latched on. 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?
Your options for getting rid of or preventing ticks on your pet include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even shampoos 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 property, 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.