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Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks are harmful to people and pets because they can spread serious illnesses. Our vets from Williamsburg will discuss how these parasites grow and the warning signs to look out for. They will also provide tips on how to prevent ticks from harming your family and pets.

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny bugs that attach themselves to animals and humans to suck their blood. They can't fly or jump, so they rely on other animals to bring them to new places. Usually, wild animals bring ticks onto your property, and then your pets can pick them up and bring them into your home.

Are ticks dangerous?

Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.

What do ticks look like in Williamsburg?

The black-legged tick, also called the deer tick, is a common type of tick found in Williamsburg. It's responsible for causing most cases of Lyme disease in our state, along with other types of ticks like the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick, and brown dog tick. Female deer ticks are orangish-brown and about 1/8" in size, with a reddish-brown abdomen that becomes darker after feeding.

Male deer ticks are smaller, around 1/16" and reddish-brown. Both males and females have flat, oval bodies and pointed, toothed mouthparts. Tick exposure can happen year-round but is most common from April to September when they're most active. You can find them in wooded and bushy areas.

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?

To protect your small pets and dogs from ticks, there are many ways you can try. You can use spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or medicated shampoo to wash your pet and get rid of ticks. Talk to your vet to find the best option for you and your pet.

To keep ticks away from your yard, keep your grass short. This will give ticks less space to live and make it less likely that they'll be around. During tick season, limit your pet's outdoor time. 

Do you suspect your pet has ticks? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Godspeed Animal Care today.

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