Many of us will hear that saying now that winter has said its goodbyes. Ticks are creatures that no one wants to find, visualizing ourselves or our pets being bitten is an awful feeling!
Did you know that there are at least 15 species of ticks and currently 4 species within our region?
The American dog tick, also known as the wood tick, feeds on both humans and pets, but rarely infests homes. Their bodies are a chestnut brown with white spots or streaks on their backs, and range in size from 1/8-inch long as an unfed adult, to 1/2-inch long as an engorged adult! They are attracted by the scent of animals, and humans most often encounter them near roads, paths, trails, and recreational areas. They are present all year round, but most numbers are found in the spring. The American dog tick requires anywhere from 3 months to 3 years to complete a life cycle and is dependent on climatic and environmental conditions for its eggs to hatch.
The lone star tick lives in wooded and brushy areas, typically along creeks and rivers. The females have single white spots on their backs, and the males have scattered white spots. The adults can range from 1/3 inch long to a 1/2 inch long, depending on the stage of feeding. All stages of lone star ticks will bite dogs and humans, but the larvae and nymphs tend to prefer small wild animals, birds, and rodents. This tick is present throughout the year, but the adults tend to reach peak populations from March to May, repeating itself from July to August.
To ensure that your furry family members are protected from these pesky critters, make sure your pets are on a form of tick prevention medication, which can be an oral or topical medication. During your appointment with your veterinarian, ensure that you are fully informing them of where your pet is active. Your backyard could be the perfect home for these pesky critters!
Written by Briarwood Animal Hosptial Team