Ticks definitely aren’t the most pleasant topic on our blog: it’s much more fun to talk about Fluffy’s playful antics or Fido’s adorable happy dances. However, it is important for pet owners to understand what ticks are, and how they operate. In this article, a Washington DC vet lists some things you probably don’t want to know, but probably should.
Ticks are generally lumped in with insects, but that’s technically incorrect. These little monsters have 8 legs, which actually makes them arachnids.
Ticks typically go dormant in winter, when their food sources are limited. However, as soon as summer comes, they wake up … and start breeding. In fact, they only breed when they are feeding. However, when they do breed, they go all out. A single female tick can lay as many as 20,000 eggs. Fortunately for us, our local ticks usually stick to a measly 3000 or so.
There are ticks pretty much all over the world. Unfortunately, they’re very hardy, and can adapt to many different climates.
Unlike fleas, which are one of the best jumpers in the animal kingdom, ticks can’t jump. They prefer to lurk in tall grasses or brush, and crawl onto their victims.
When a tick bites a host, they can transmit dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It doesn’t necessarily take very long for transmission to occur. In fact, in some cases, infections can be passed on in as little as 3 hours. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with tick checks, and remove any that you find immediately.
There are 850 types of ticks, which is about 850 too many in our book. The US has about 200. In our area, we have the Brown Dog tick, the American Dog Tick, the Deer Tick, and the Lone Star Tick.
Ticks, unfortunately, will feed on just about anything that wanders past them, including mammals, birds, people, pets, and even bugs.
Ticks don’t like being exposed: they tend to prefer shaded areas. Putting a three-foot gravel path around your property can help repel them.
Does your pet need vaccinations or parasite control? We can help! Contact us, your Washington DC vet clinic, today!