Indian Trail Pet Sitter Advises You About Ticks in North Carolina and Your Pets

English: Adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. Č...

Ticks in North Carolina
Ticks are more than just a major nuisance to you and your pet; if you’re not careful they can cause serious health issues or even cost your pet his life.  Read on to learn more.
How can I spot a tick on my pet?  What should I do if I find one?
Ticks are more than just pesky bugs.  They are blood sucking parasites.  They live off the blood of your pet for most of their life cycle.  They locate animals due to their haller’s organ which gives them the ability to sense carbon dioxide and heat.  This makes your beloved pet a very easy target!  They attach by mouth to your pet and suck his blood.  You should closely monitor your pet for ticks and brush him within 5 hours of coming into contact of a possible tick environment (the grass, hedges, bushes, trees are great breeding grounds).  If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately with tweezers.  Be very careful as you do this.  Pull gently – you must make sure that you have removed the entire tick, including his head!  The longer the tick resides on your pet’s body, the more likely it becomes that he’ll be exposed to infection.  Dispose of the tick by wrapping him in toilet paper and flushing him down the toilet.  Some suggest that you keep the tick in a sealed container in alcohol just in case your pet comes down with symptoms.  This will help your vet identify what type of tick it is, which will guide his care and decision making. Don’t forget to wash the infected area of your pet with soap, water and alcohol.  Wash your hands to help prevent the possibility of spread tick-transmitted disease.
There is more than one type of tick.
The American Dog tick is most commonly found in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.  It is the vector of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  The adult American Dog Tick prefers dogs and humans as his host.  This tick is found along wooded paths, parks, pastures and other areas of North Carolina that have shrubs and grass.  It is most active in spring, summer and fall.
The Brown Dog Tick is found in North Carolina – year round!  It feeds off of dogs and sometimes but rarely, humans.  These ticks may be found in concrete, building foundations, homes and kennels.  Ugh!  The population of these ticks is extremely high and grows at an alarming rate.
The Lone Star Tick is also found in North Carolina.  It is abundant in the fall mostly along the coastal plains however; it is no stranger to the Piedmont area!  This tick seeks and attacks humans as well as wild and domestic animals including your dog! It lurks in pastures, parks, grass and areas with shrubbery similar to the American Dog tick.  A bite from this tick does not cause Lyme disease but does cause a similar rash to appear and this tick transmit a bacteria that is the cause of erhlichiosis.
The Black-Legged Tick is found in the same habitat as the Lone Star Tick.  This ticks feeds off of small mammals and believe it or not, lizards.  They are active in fall, spring, and in winter.
Ticks are no laughing matter.  In fact, they’re quite serious.  They can transmit serious diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme Disease.  Learn more about the symptoms of these diseases as well as protecting yourself and your pet from ticks in a post later this week.
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