Ticks are capable of spreading a wide range of dangerous diseases and therefore can be serious considerations for both people and pets. Her, our Bellevue vets explain what signs of ticks you should beware of and how to keep these external parasites away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals alike. They don't fly or jump and so, generally, rely on their hosts for transportation. Once ticks are in the area around your property, pets will frequently become hosts and then bring these parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Since ticks spread a wide range of serious diseases, they can be dangerous both to people and pets. Humans may be infected with dangerous diseases like Lyme disease when a tick's saliva—and the germs it contains—makes its way into their bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Bellevue?
The western black-legged tick (also known as Ixodes pacificus) is one of the most common tick species found in Bellevue and has the dubious distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in Washington state. It's joined by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and soft tick.
The Western black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While females' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), males are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. 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?
You can use a range of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on your dog or other small pet. These include oral medications, tick collars, spot-in treatments and even medicinal shampoos that kill ticks on contact with your pet. Ask your vet what they thing the best option for you and your pet for tick prevention is.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, 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.