Tips for Tick Protection in West LA
Our animal hospital offers a range of tick preventatives to keep dogs and cats safe. While Lyme disease is not a major concern at the moment here in West LA, ticks themselves are widespread and not likely to go away any time soon. They can also spread other harmful diseases that can affect both animals and humans. By protecting your pet, you’re also protecting yourself and other members of your family. Check out our tips on tick protection.
The Secret Life of Ticks
Ticks generally rely on deer and rodents for feeding, and because deer and rodent numbers are growing, ticks are thriving. There are about 90 species of ticks along in the US, and some of the most common are the Blacklegged tick, the brown dog tick, and the Lone Star tick. The Western Blacklegged tick is present in 56 of 58 California counties.
Once they hatch, ticks go through 3 life stage phases: larva, nymph, and adult. When searching for hosts on which to feed, ticks engage in what is known as “questing.” This involves climbing up on low vegetation or onto a tall blade of grass and waiting for a host to pass by. This is why ticks are most often found in wooded areas in the mountains and foothills, and occasionally near wetlands.
Ticks often carry bacteria that they pick up from their hosts. When a tick then feeds on another host, they transmit that bacteria into the host’s bloodstream. This is how Lyme disease and other diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Babesiosis, another tick-borne condition, is caused by microscopic parasites that target the red blood cells.
Other conditions that may arise from a tick bite include:
- Tick paralysis
- Allergic sensitization
How to Keep the Ticks Away
There are lots of ways to protect yourself and your pet from the onslaught of tick season:
- Keep your pet on year-round tick prevention
- Use insect repellent when going outside
- Wear clothing treated with permethrin
- Do a thorough tick check on yourself and your pet before going inside
- After a long day outside, make sure to hit the shower right away
- Place clothes in dryer on high heat for about 10 minutes to kill any ticks that might be hiding in the folds
To remove a tick, place tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently pull upward on the tick. This ensures that you remove the whole tick, including their head and mouth parts. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol and/or warm, soapy water. For further instructions, call our hospital.