Ticks are capable of spreading a wide range of serious diseases and can be dangerous to both people and pets. Here, our vets explain how these external parasites can thrive, what signs to be aware of and how to keep ticks away from your family and pets in Gibsons.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on human and animal blood. They aren't able to jump or fly and so they rely on their hosts, often wild animals, for transportation onto your property. Once ticks are on your property, pets may 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 Gibsons?
The Western black-legged tick (also known as Ixodes pacificus), is one of the most common species found in British Columbia and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our province. It's joined by the winter tick, the brown dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick.
The Western black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While females' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown coloured abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), males are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short time walking through the undergrowth and long grass, check yourself and your pet for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, between their legs, beside and behind their ears as well as between their toes and around their neck.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You can use a wide variety of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on dogs and cats. Your options include oral medications, tick collars, shampoos and spot-on treatments to kill ticks on contact. Ask your vet to determine the right option for your pet and you.
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.