Parasite Control

The Tick:
Patient. Stubborn. Dangerous.

Think of the tick as an eight-legged vampire.

Its hosts are carefully chosen, firmly bitten and slowly fed upon. Add to that its remarkable ability to transmit life-threatening diseases, and you have one of the most dangerous parasites your pet will ever meet. Keep reading to learn how to prevent them and better understand exactly what makes a tick, well… tick.

Tick Life Cycle

  • Mature eggs hatch young tick larvae.
  • A larva feeds on a small mammal (mice, chipmunks) before it molts into a nymph.
  • The nymph feeds on a larger host (raccoons, opossums) before molting again into an adult.
  • The adult tick feeds on its largest host (dogs, cats, livestock, humans) then mates. The female soon lays several thousand eggs, and the cycle continues.

Questing

Ticks can't fly or jump. Instead, they climb onto leaves, blades of grass or branches and simply wait for a host to come by. And wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Sensing a nearby host (through carbon dioxide emissions, heat and moisture), the tick adopts a "questing" posture, lifting its front two legs and waving them in the air.

As the host brushes by, the tick makes a grab and hangs on.

Feeding

Intricate mouthparts cut into the skin and insert a barbed "feeding tube" into the wound. Compounds found in the tick’s saliva:

  • Increase blood flow
  • Prevent clotting
  • Suppress the host's immune response
  • Anesthetize the bite so the host won’t feel a thing

Once locked in place, the tick will not detach until it is fully engorged.

Undiscovered, the tick can feed for days, giving pathogens plenty of time to infect the host.

  • General

    • Fever
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Decreased appetite or thirst
    • Lethargy
    • Depression
  • Lyme Disease

    • Limping & lameness due to joint inflammation
    • Difficulty breathing
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

    • Discolored, purplish spots on the skin
    • Blood in the urine
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Loss of coordination
    • Limb edema
    • Nosebleed
    • Severe weight loss
  • Ehrlichiosis

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Limb edema
    • Loss of coordination
    • Joint inflammation and pain
    • Severe weight loss
    • Nosebleed

Job #1: Tick Removal

If you find a tick on your pet, you must remove it immediately. Often, infection can be avoided if the tick is removed within 48 hours of attachment. You can’t remove a tick by flicking it away – its mouthparts are embedded in your pet’s skin. Follow these steps for a safe, clean extraction:

Post Tick Removal

Pets with tick-borne infections should be seen by your veterinarian and treated accordingly.

  1. Take fine-point tweezers and grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull out the tick slowly and gently.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly, then disinfect the wound and tweezers.
  4. If possible, save the tick (in a jar, sealed plastic bag) and bring it to your veterinarian. Knowing exactly what bit your pet can help diagnose any problems.

When removing a tick, NEVER EVER:

  • Use your fingers
  • Jerk or twist the tweezers (mouthparts could get left behind)
  • Squeeze the tick’s abdomen (stomach contents could burst out and cause more infection)
  • Use nail polish, petroleum jelly, rubbing alcohol or a hot match to loosen its grip

Did You Know?

  • The adult male tick dies after mating. The adult female dies after laying 2,000 - 18,000 eggs.
  • While feeding, the female tick can expand up to 10 times her unfed weight.
  • A fully engorged tick looks like a plump bean.
  • Larvae are born with 6 legs instead of 8; Nymphs don’t get their full set of 8 legs until they molt
  • Mating only takes place after a blood meal. By then, the male tick is often a fraction of the size of the engorged female.
  • People and pets are at their highest risk of contracting Lyme Disease from May through September.
  • More proof ticks are a year-round problem: Many are actually MORE active in the WINTER than in the summer.

Prevention

Consistent, year-round preventive care is now and always will be your best defense against ticks.

Monthly Preventives

Monthly tick preventives are an easy, simple and affordable way to protect your pet everyday, all year long.

  • Monthly Topical Application
  • Monthly Tablets & Chewables

Limit Tick Exposure

On top of your pet's monthly flea preventive, limiting exposure to ticks in the first place helps tremendously.

  • Keep your lawn mowed and all other vegetation cut short.
  • Remove leaf litter from under shrubs.
  • Treat yard with an outdoor tick-control pesticide.
  • Avoid tall grasses, dense shrubbery and wooded areas when out with your pet.
  • Perform a "tick check" of your pet's fur and skin after they've been outside. Pay special attention to the ears, groin area, tail and between the toes.
  • Regularly run a flea comb over your pet's coat.

Bottom Line

Don't wait to protect your pet from ticks.
Simple prevention now avoids difficult treatments later.

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