Ticks are common in the United States in many sizes and varieties. The most common tick that is found here in Arizona is the brown dog tick. A tick is not an insect but is an arachnid, same as spiders. They have 8 legs, which helps to differentiate them from other small insects.
There are four life stages of ticks: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After a tick hatches from the egg it must eat blood during every remaining stage of its life to survive, which means that a tick may survive for up to 3 years if it is able to complete a full life cycle. However, most ticks die due to inability to find a host for its next feeding. Ticks can feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
A tick finds its host by detecting body odors, breath, body heat, moisture and vibrations of animals in their surroundings. Often, when not on a host, a tick is “questing” for a host, which means it is resting on the tips of grass and shrubbery waiting for a potential host to brush past so the tick can climb on. Some ticks will latch on immediately; others will search for a spot where the skin is thinner.
In Arizona, we don’t have to worry about ticks as much as in other parts of the country, and when we do see ticks it’s mainly confined to monsoon season due to the increase in moisture. It’s important to check your pets for ticks. Look in places the ticks like to hide, usually deep under the fur, near ears, armpits, and toes. Ticks like warm, hidden spots where the skin is thinner.
If you see ticks on your pets you can simply remove them if there are not many, or use a topical tick product. We recommend Frontline as it is the safest and most effective product in our experience. To remove a tick you can use your fingers or a pair of tweezers and grasp it very close to the skin. Then pull gently and steadily until it comes free from the skin. There may be a small wound where the tick was attached, but it will heal quickly.
Ticks do carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted to your pet. If your pet has had a lot of ticks it may be a good idea to have a test run to check for tick-borne diseases. This test can be done at El Dorado Animal Hospital.
If you have any questions or concerns about ticks you can always call our clinic at (480) 837-0800.
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16765 East Parkview Avenue
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
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