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What Are Ticks?

Ticks are external skin parasites that feed on the blood of their host. Ticks can transmit diseases, including Lyme, and removal of ticks are important to prevent infection.

A tick's lifespan is two years, and before maturing to the next stage, they will require three different hosts. Each tick stage requires a blood meal before it can reach the next stage. Hard ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Larvae and nymphs must feed before they detach and molt. Adult female ticks can engorge, increasing their weight by more than 100 fold. After detaching, an adult female tick can lay approximately 3,000 eggs.

Deer TickDuring the egg-laying stage, they lay their eggs in secluded areas with dense vegetation. The eggs hatch within two weeks. Once the eggs hatch, the ticks are in the larval stage, during which time the larvae move into grass and search for their first blood meal. At this stage, they will attach themselves for several days to their first host, usually a bird or rodent, and then fall onto the ground. The nymph stage begins after the first blood meal is completed. Nymphs remain inactive during winter and start moving again in spring. Nymphs find a host, usually a rodent, pet, or human. Nymphs are generally about the size of a freckle.

After this blood meal, ticks fall off the host and move into the adult stage. Throughout the autumn, male and female adults find a host, which is again usually a rodent, pet, or human. The adult female feeds for eight to 12 days. The female mates while still attached to her host. Both ticks fall off, and the males die. The female remains inactive through the winter and in the spring lays her eggs in a secluded place. If adults cannot find a host animal in the fall, they can survive in leaf litter until the spring.

How Do Pets Get Ticks?

Ticks are found in the environment (both inside and outside). They will commonly be found in heavily wooded or brushed areas, but can also be found on well-manicured and maintained lawns. Ticks can also be found on wild life animals (rodents and other mammals).

What Are The Clinical Signs Associated With Ticks?

Ticks can transmit infectious diseases like Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease. The side effects associated with these infections can include lethargy, soreness, fever, anemia (low red blood cell count), and thrombocytopenia (low platelets).

Sometimes your dog can also be asymptomatic for these infections and diagnosis is based on an in-house tick panel called a 4dx Test (Tick borne: Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Lyme disease and Mosquitos: Heartworm). There are extensive tick borne disease panels that can be run at the laboratory if other tick borne diseases are suspected.

How Do We Diagnose Ticks?

Ticks are diagnosed by finding them on your dog or cat and/or finding them on the floor of your home.

Are Ticks Contagious?

Ticks are not contagious, however ticks can be found on people and bite them as well.

Should You Remove Ticks?

Yes, but you must be careful to also remove the proboscis. This is the teeth of the tick. If this is not removed, it can cause an irritation and possible abscess as its considered foreign material.

Preventing Ticks

ProductTick Killing IngredientFormatFor Dogs or Cats?Protects Against Which Ticks?Youngest Age of Pet ApprovedLength of One Application
K9Advantix Permethrin Topical Dogs only All 7 weeks 1 month
Revolution Selamectin Topical Dogs & Cats (feline not labeled against ticks) American Dog Tick 6 weeks 1 month
Preventic Collar Amitraz Collar Dogs only All 12 weeks Up to 90 days
Frontline EasySpot Fipronil Topical or spray Cats only All 8 weeks 1 month
Frontline Parastar Fipronil Topical or spray Dogs only All 8 weeks 1 month
Nexgard Afoxolaner Oral (chew) Dogs only American Dog Tick 8 weeks 1 month
Seresto Collar Flumethrin & Imidacloprid Collar Dogs only Deer Tick, American Dog Tick, Brown Dog Tick & Lonestar Tick 7 weeks 8 months

Life is better for your pet and family without parasites. Let us help you choose the right tick preventative product today! Call us at 516-379-5010.