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Ticks wait for the host animal from the tips of grasses and shrubs. They are not commonly found in trees. When brushed by a moving animal or person they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Hard ticks, the American Dog tick, Lone Star tick, Deer tick and the Brown Dog tick are the most common ticks found on dogs. The Deer tick is half the size of the other ticks and can cause Lymes disease in both dogs and humans.

The best treatment for ticks is prevention. There are a number of products that your veterinarian can recommend. Some of the best products to protect pets are those applied to the skin topically such as Frontline Plus. Since ticks can also attach to humans and cause disease, hunters, trappers and hikers should cover exposed skin. Tucking pants into socks or boots and wearing long sleeves when in the woods is always a good idea.

If you find a tick on your dog, do not use home remedies such as applying petroleum jelly, grease or a hot match to the rear of the tick. If you must remove a tick yourself use blunt tweezers or disposable gloves and grasp the tick close to the skin. Pull the tick straight out with steady, even pressure. It may take a minute or two to release. Remember ticks can cause disease in both dogs and people. Your veterinarian and your physician should be consulted if you find a tick on you or your dog.

Ticks have four distinct parts of their life cycle. They are the egg, six-legged larva, eight –legged nymph and the adult. The life cycle requires as little as 2 months to more than 2 years to develop depending on the kind of tick and the environment. The life cycle can be complicated and can involve intermediate hosts. The adults are the stage that is visible on the skin.

Dr. Bruce Baker co-owner of North Main Animal Hospital, www.northmainanimal.com


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