Last weekend, we pulled two ticks off of our hired man’s dog. After the dog snuggled with me, of course! So I thought this would be a great time to talk about ticks with information from our MontGuide Ticks on Companion Animals.
The four species of ticks that are frequently found on companion animals are the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, the American Dog Tick, The brown dog tick, and the winter tick. The wood tick and the winter tick are found throughout the state and thrive in stream and river corridors, sagebrush flats and grassy meadows. The American Dog tick is found in wooded areas, abandoned fields with medium height grasses and shrubs and open areas between wetlands and woods. The brown dog tick is found in kennels, sheds, or barns where dogs are housed.
Ticks are active from April through August and They find their hosts by detecting odors, heat, or vibrations from an animal. When the ticks are on the host, they use serrated mouth parts to puncture and attach the skin. When feeding, the body weight of a female tick can increase up to 100 times its normal weight.
I have heard of many ways people remove ticks but the extension recommended method is to grasp the tick with fine tipped tweezers as close to the surface of the skin as possible and pull upward using slow, steady, even, pressure until the tick is dislodged. If you are too hasty in removing the tick, you may break off the mouth parts and can further inflame, infect, or irritate the wound. Be careful not to squeeze or puncture the ticks body because the fluids may contain infections organisms. Don’t forget to disinfect the bite wound with iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Ticks can be prevented with topical treatments, shampoos, or plastic collars with the pesticide embedded. Prevention method preference is up to the pet owner.
Please be sure to keep you and your pets safe from ticks into the spring and summer!
By Kim Suta
Toole County Extension