Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases, posing a dangerous health threat to people and pets across the U.S. Here, our Santa Clarita vets explain how these external parasites thrive, symptoms of tick borne illnesses, 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 including pets and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on host animals for transportation. Once ticks are on your property, pets can easily become hosts providing these parasites with an easy route into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks spread a number of serious diseases, making them a serious health threat to both people and pets. People can contract serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What ticks can be found in Santa Clarita?
The Western black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is one of the most common ticks found in California and is the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis in this state. Other ticks in California include the Pacific Coast Tick, known to transmit spotted fever and tularemia, the American dog tick that can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and the Brown dog tick which is a known carrier of the parasites that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
After even a short walk through bush and grass, be sure to check your dog carefully for ticks. Check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and especially between your pet's 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.