Ticks are most commonly found in a wooded or overgrown area. These parasites like an environment with brush, shrubs or other vegetation and any animal or person entering these habitats risks exposure to ticks (and to the diseases which ticks carry).
In Florida, we have five types of ticks to be concerned with:
Diseases are spread by all of these ticks, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme's Disease, and many others. Ticks can pass disease on to pets and their owners. Disease risk varies depending upon the type of tick and the locale.
Ticks & Your Pet
Ticks can be found anywhere on your pet's body, especially in areas that are hard to reach. Cats often have them on their head and neck. Dogs often have them on the neck, in the ears, on skin folds, or between toes.
Ticks feed on blood. A female tick may take up to 100 times its weight when it feeds! The skin may become inflamed and irritated at the tick's attachment site. In addition to infections already mentioned, ticks can also cause tick paralysis and anemia.
Check your pet frequently to remove ticks as soon as possible, preferably before they can attach to your pet. Avoid contact with the fluids from the tick, as this can expose you to diseases that may be present. Manual removal is preferred - by using a tick removal tool or a pair of tweezers. Do not crush, twist, or jerk the tick out of the skin. Grasp it as close to the skin as possible and gently pull the tick out. Be careful to not leave the head within the skin as it may cause a local infection. Attempts to smother or kill the tick topically may cause regurgitation of fluids from the stomach and increase risk of disease.
Pets should be treated with an effective tick control. There are several options available and can be tailored to your pets' needs. Ask one of our veterinarians for their recommendation. If you take you pet hiking or camping be sure to check frequently for ticks so that you can prevent their attachment. Removing brush or shrubby areas in your yard can help reduce your pet's tick risk. And finally, because ticks can get on you - if you find ticks on your pet, always check yourself too!