Ticks are a very common external parasite found on McAllen pets and can spread a number of serious diseases making them dangerous for pets and their families. Our vets are here to tell you all about the signs to look out for and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought 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 McAllen?
A common tick that is found in the McAllen area is the Lone Star tick who are most associated with the tick disease known as STARI, which is an illness that can lead to a lifelong allergy to red meat. Some other common ticks in the area are Black Legged ticks, American Dog ticks, and Brown Dog ticks. Each is known for carrying tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and can easily attach to our pets or our family.
The Lone Star tick has a brown body and legs, and a single white or yellow mark on its back. Male black-legged ticks have an entirely black body whereas females have a black circle on their back surrounded by an orange crescent. The Brown Dog tick has a very darker body with brown legs. Finally, the American Dog ticks are brown in color with yellowish or gray markings along their back.
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 number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
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.