There are 850 different species of ticks around the world. Ninety of these species reside within the United States. A handful of these species transmit diseases to humans and our pets. Dr. Anna Coffin will share some interesting facts about ticks and how you can protect you and your pet from these pesky creatures.
Things you should know about ticks:
- Ticks have three main life stages: larvae, nymph, and adult. Larvae are about the size of a grain of sand. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed, and an adult tick can be as large as an apple seed. Each life stage requires a blood meal. Once the blood meal is complete, the tick detaches, molts and then finds another victim.
- A female tick lays between 3,000 and 8,000 eggs at one time and then she dies.
- Ticks crawl up! All ticks live on the ground no matter their location. They get on a blade of grass to catch their next meal, and they continue to crawl up from there.
- Ticks can be active even in the winter. Some ticks do go dormant in colder weather, but some species will be active during the winter as long as the ground isn’t frozen, or snow covered.
- Ticks carry diseases that can spread to you or your pet from a single bite. In fact, according to the CDC, tick-transmitted diseases are on the rise. Some tick-transmitted disease can be fatal to your pets.
- Remove a tick with tweezers. Ticks are tiny germ-filled balloons, and when not removed properly, these germs will be forced into their host. It’s best to grab the tick with a pair of tweezers by the head right next to the skin and gently pull upward. Don’t try burning the tick off or smothering with alcohol, Vaseline or nail polish. These techniques simply don’t work and can increase the risk of disease transmission.
- Tick bites and tick disease are preventable. The only way to become infected with a tick-transmitted disease is getting bitten by a tick. Take the following steps to protect yourself and your pet from ticks.
- Use tick repellents for yourself and your pet. There are a variety of products to protect your pet from fleas and ticks. Anna Coffin and the staff of Guthrie Pet Hospital recommend either Seresto collar or Nexgard for flea and tick prevention. Seresto collar is an eight-month collar that repels fleas and ticks. Nexgard is a chewable treat that needs to be given every 30 days to kill fleas and ticks.
- Check for ticks daily.
- Shower after being outdoors
- Create a safe tick zone with proper landscaping. Keep your lawn cut short and remove debris.