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Most of us are aware of ticks. However, we do not know much about them. What are they? How are they harmful? How can they be prevented? If you are interested in learning more about ticks, here are ten tick-related facts for you –
- Ticks are not insects. No, ticks are arachnids. So, they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions.
- Ticks undergo four life stages. These are egg, larva, nymph, and mature. Ticks need host blood to feed on in every stage barring the first. They die if they cannot latch onto an animal host after they’ve progressed into the larva stage of their life cycle.
- Ticks can take upto three years to reach full maturity.
- Ticks are best treated with prescription medication as they are small in size and can be hard to find on your own.
- The different kinds of tick species number upto 900. About 90 of these are found in the continental US alone. They carry diseases such as Alpha-gal, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease.
- Ticks prefer to feed on different host types in the different stages of their life.
- Tick infestations are more common in dogs than they are in cats. For this reason, it is easier to prevent tick infestation in a dog, as there are more FDA-approved treatment options available. In fact some tick-prevention medicines are not even safe for use on cats.
- Not just pets, even humans can contract multiple diseases from as little as one tick bite. These diseases shouldn’t be taken lightly, as they can be fatal if left untreated. Try to treat the ticks on your pet’s body, as they can attach to you and bite you.
- Ticks are not born with disease agents but acquire them as they progress in their life-cycle. They transmit diseases from one diseased body to another. However, ticks need to feed on a singular body for hours until it can spread disease. Tick prevention methods make use of this time needed for ticks to spread infection and kill them before they can spread any disease.
- It is not advisable to pick a tick off your pet’s body with your bare hands. You should try to avoid any contact with the tick’s blood. Use a pair of tweezers or another specialized tick-removal instrument. Also, always remember to remove the head, as well as the body. It is the head of the tick that bites.
Now, that you are aware more about what ticks are and how they can damage your pet’s health or cause you disease, you can take informed steps on dealing with your tick problem. Visit a vet or try out tick home-treatments – either way, take quick action and prevent the ticks from spreading.