In America, ticks are responsible for more human ailments than any other bug. Just like us, they’re more active in warmer weather.

These eight-legged parasites, which are relatives of spiders and scorpions, feed on the blood of their hosts.  It’s hard to know when a tick has bitten you because they inject a deadening agent into the bite wound. Their presence can go unobserved for days while they are feeding.

While they are feeding, ticks can pass on diseases such as Ehrlichia and Lyme disease to the host via their saliva. The majority tick-borne infections take several hours to pass on to a host; thus the earlier a tick is sited and eliminated, the lesser the danger of disease.

The symptoms of nearly all tick-borne diseases include fever and lethargy, although some might also cause lameness, weakness, joint swelling and anemia. Symptoms may take several days, weeks or months to show up.

Some ticks may cause a short-term condition known as “tick paralysis,” which is marked by a slow onset of difficulty while walking and may advance into paralysis. These manifestations characteristically begin to resolve after the tick is eliminated. If you note these or any other symptoms of sickness in your pet, get in touch with your veterinarian right away so that appropriate testing and essential treatments can commence

Ticks are effective disease transmitters because most ticks obtain blood from both small and large animal species, birds, and even reptiles. Generally, ticks must sip a blood meal prior to molting and moving to the next phase of their life cycle. Ticks often are infected with diseases on infected birds or mammals. For instance, a tick can get Lyme virus from a field mouse, and later in its life spread it to a pet or human.

How to prevent tick bites

Understanding tick behavior can provide some hints on ways to avoid tick bites. While there is no sure way of keeping your pet free from ticks, keeping away from overhanging bushes and tall grass is a simple and effective way to avoid tick bites.

You can use commercial products that keep ticks away from your pets or from you. Most importantly, monitor your pet regularly and get rid of ticks as soon as possible.

After coming from outdoor activities where you may have come across ticks, throw your clothes into a dryer and set on high heat. This ensures no ticks exist on your clothes. Always carry out a tick check and take a shower. Also, keep pets coming from outside off furniture, particularly bedding.

Removing a tick

Ticks must be removed without delay. The longer it stays attached, the higher the chance of becoming infected. Eradicate it cautiously to avert disease transmission:

  1. Use a well-pointed tweezers to grasp the tick and as near to the skin as possible without squeezing its body.
  2. Tightly pull it out straight and expect to feel some opposition. Keep the tick in a plastic bag or a small container of alcohol for future testing when you visit your veterinarian or doctor.
  3. Never burn the tick, squeeze it, or cover it using Vaseline or any other material.
  4. Remember to sterilize bite spot, disinfect the tweezers and wash your hands.