What are ticks?
Ticks are tiny bloodsuckers of the arachnid family that are particularly fond of burrowing into your pet’s skin. Although they look harmless, they can pass diseases into your pet’s bloodstream.
What illnesses can a tick carry?
* Lyme Disease (attacks the nervous system and potentially eyes, joints, liver and heart)
* Anaplasmosis (attacks white blood cells)
* Ehrlichiosis (very similar to Anaplasmosis)
* Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (bacterial infection)
* Hepatazoonosis (can affect multiple organ systems)
* Babesiosis (affects red blood cells – turns urine red or black)
* Bartonellosis (known as cat scratch fever)
How do I remove a tick from my pet?
You must use extreme care when removing a tick. Ideally, you want to pinch the tick (with tweezers) as close to the head as possible. If the head of the tick does get stuck, don’t try to dig it out! Your pet will expel it naturally in a few days. You should flush the tick down the toilet just to be sure there is no chance of its infected blood spreading.
Advice: Do not squeeze the body! If you squeeze the little guy, it will explode expelling infected stomach contents onto you and your pet. Yuck!
How do I prevent ticks in my yard?
Here are a few simple tricks and techniques to reduce the tick population in your yard.
* Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns
* Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and playground equipment (This restricts tick migration into recreational areas)
* Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
* Stack wood neatly and in dry areas (discourages rodents that ticks feed on)
* Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees. Place them in a sunny location, if possible.
* Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that might give ticks a place to hide.
Tick prevention is recommended year-round for pets, especially pets that are outdoors often and in wooded areas. Shores Animal Hospital in Gainesville has many tick and flea/tick preventions that are safe and effective for your pets.