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Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks are capable of spreading a wide variety of serious diseases and, therefore, are dangerous both to pets and people in Phenix City and across the Chattahoochee Valley. Here, our vets explain how and where these external parasite thrive, what signs to beware of and how to keep ticks away from your pets and the rest of your family.

What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of both animals and humans. They don't jump or fly like other external parasites so they rely almost entirely on their hosts (usually wild animals) for transportation from place to place. Once they are on your property, pets will frequently become hosts and bring the parasites 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 Phenix City?

The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in the Phenix City area and has the dubious distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick and American dog tick.

The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male deer ticks 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 (April to September).

How do I check my pet for ticks?

Even after only a short walk through long grass and brush, check your pet carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside their ears, as well as between their legs and toes and around their neck.

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.

In order to keep ticks out of the area around your home, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This gives ticks fewer areas to breed and live, reducing their risk of bring in your immediate area. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside. 

Do you suspect your pet has ticks? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Summerville Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Summerville Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Phenix City companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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