Ticks haven’t always been touted as a serious concern in Texas. However, in the past few years, tick populations seem to be growing. Common ticks in Texas include the Lone Star tick, the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, and the black-legged tick. These ticks are known carriers of several tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. While these diseases are treatable if caught early, they can leave lingering side effects. Tick protection is the only way to fully prevent tick diseases from affecting the life of your pet and your family. Our animal hospital has tick protection and prevention tips for both you and your best friends.
Tick Prevention Tips for Pets & Owners
To avoid ticks, the first thing to understand is how they attach to their host. Ticks typically wait in the “questing” position on tall grass, bushes, or shrubs for a potential host to pass by. When the host brushes up against the leaves or grass, the tick grabs hold and climbs aboard. Some ticks will simply bite the first piece of exposed skin, while others will hunt for a place that’s hidden and thinly skinned. To avoid running into questing ticks and preventing them from climbing aboard your pet or yourself, follow these tips:
- Avoid walking through wooded areas or tall grass.
- Use tick repellant or permethrin on your clothes. These chemicals can be dangerous to your pets, so make sure to use them according to their directions.
- Keep your pet’s tick control products up to date, even if your pet is indoors only. Brown dog ticks have been known to become established indoors, and you or another pet could easily bring a tick indoors with you. Ask your veterinarian for the best tick control product for your pet.
- Remove tick-friendly habitats from your yard including leaf litter, bushes and shrubs, and tall grass.
- Wear light-colored, long clothing that you can tuck in to minimize your skin exposure.
Safe Tick Removal
If you do find a tick on your pet or yourself, prompt removal is essential. Ticks can only transmit disease after being attached for several hours. Here’s how to safely remove a tick:
- Protect yourself by wearing latex or rubber gloves so you don’t come into direct contact with the tick.
- With tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Make sure you’re not squeezing the body. If it pops, the bodily fluids could transmit disease through the bite wound.
- Using steady, gentle pressure, pull the tick straight up and dispose of it in a jar or other sealable container so you can save it for identification if symptoms develop.
- Disinfect the bite wound with rubbing alcohol and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
If your pet is bitten by a tick, it’s a good idea to have your pet evaluated whether or not they develop symptoms. Some pets can suffer from disease without displaying obvious symptoms. Please contact us at (210) 684-2273 if you have any questions about tick protection for your pet!