How Can I Protect My Pet from Ticks?
Based on Pet Health Data
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According to Banfield’s Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) team, in 2014, the regions in the country with the highest prevalence of ticks were the south central region for dogs, and the northeast region for cats. From the 2.9 million pet health records taken from Banfield hospitals in 2014, 1,211 cats (about 0.25 percent) and 23,359 dogs (about 1 percent) were diagnosed with ticks at a Banfield hospital. Here’s a helpful guide on keeping your pets safe from this dangerous parasite.
Ticks can easily attach as your pet is walking through tall grass or wooded areas, and can carry deadly diseases, like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. Ticks present essentially three dangers to your pets: the physical damage inflicted from a bite, the systematic effects of the tick’s saliva, and the transmission of disease.
Detecting a Tick
When your pet comes inside after spending any amount of time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas, be sure to check its coat. Ticks can easily go unnoticed if you are not diligent about keeping your pet’s coat clear of any parasitic clingers. Look especially for parts in your pet’s fur, where the hair has been pushed away to make room for the tick’s body. Regular brushing will help keep your pet’s coat lean, making it harder for ticks to hide beneath a matted coat, and it will also let you feel any irregularities along your pet’s skin. With hard-backed shields that feel like distinctive bumps or sudden warts on your pet’s body, feeling a tick will often be easier than seeing one.
Generally, ticks are round or pear-shaped. Ticks are usually quite small, sometimes so small that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. When matured and engorged on a blood meal, however, they can grow as large as a pencil eraser. Ticks will have four pairs of legs, no antennas, and are generally a dark-brown, black color.
It is far easier to prevent a tick bite than it is to safely remove one once it has attached. Get your pet on the appropriate flea and tick control medication to properly protect them from the parasites who thrive in the summer months. To talk more about your pet’s options for parasite control, or to discuss the safe removal of an attached tick, call your local Banfield veterinarian immediately.
Need More Information?
Refer to our handy guide on parasite-proofing your home and garden, or visit our 2016 State of Pet Health™ Report for more parasite or general pet health knowledge.