Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases that threaten the health of people and pets in Gallup. In this post, our vets explain how these external parasites thrive, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently 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 Gallup?
Brown dog ticks are the most common ticks seen in New Mexico. These parasites are shiny and dark brown in color as adults but juvenile dog ticks are shiny and dark gray. When adult females are attached to dogs and become engorged with blood and developing eggs, they appear light gray and grape-like.
This tick is found across the American Southwest and is known to carry and transmit the pathogens canine ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis), canine babesiosis (Babesia canis), and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii) which can develop in people as well as dogs. The brown dog tick is not known to transmit Lyme disease.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
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 tick prevention option for your pet.
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.