Ticks Don't Jump They Climb

By PenBay Veterinary Associates | May 02, 2012

What Are Ticks?
Ticks are small, eight-legged parasites that must drink blood in order to survive and reproduce. Ticks don’t fly, and they can’t jump (unlike fleas). In fact, ticks are more closely related to spiders and mites than to “insects” like fleas. Of the hundreds of tick species, approximately 80 are found in the United States. Ticks can feed on a variety of hosts including birds, dogs, cats, and people.

shelters1
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Why Are Ticks a Problem?
If a dog is heavily infested with ticks, the parasites can drink enough blood to cause anemia (severe blood loss). However, ticks are mostly a concern because of the diseases they can transmit to their hosts. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are among the dangerous diseases that ticks can transmit to your dog. Although people can’t catch these diseases from dogs directly, infected ticks can bite people and transmit them. If your dog is exposed to these dangers, chances are that you and your family may also be at risk for exposure.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?
Despite a very popular myth, ticks don’t fall or jump out of trees onto a host. However, ticks can climb, and they tend to attach themselves to shrubs and blades of tall grass. They can also live in dens of rodents and other small mammals. One species of tick can even live indoors.

When a host walks by and brushes against the grass or shrub where the tick is waiting, the tick climbs onto the host. Once on a new host, the tick eventually finds a location to attach and feed. For some diseases, like Lyme disease, a tick must be attached for several hours in order to transmit the infection to a host. This means that if you check your dog (and yourself) daily, you have a chance of finding and removing any ticks before they can transmit Lyme disease.

 

How Do Cats Get Ticks?
Despite a very popular myth, ticks don’t fall or jump out of trees onto a host. However, ticks can climb, and they tend to attach themselves to shrubs and blades of tall grass. They can also live in dens of rodents and other small mammals. One species of tick can even live indoors. When a host walks by and brushes against the grass or shrub where the tick is waiting, the tick climbs onto the host. Once on a new host, the tick eventually finds a location to attach and feed. Cats that roam or hunt rodents and small mammals are likely to be exposed to ticks, especially if they have access to wooded areas. However, even indoor cats can be exposed to ticks if dogs or humans bring ticks into the house.

Learn how to protect your dogs and cats from ticks by continuing to read the article on our website: http://www.penbayvets.com/pet-health/ticks-dont-jump-they-climb

 

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PenBay Veterinary Associates is an accredited member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Since 2005, we have regularly undergone evaluations by AAHA to ensure that we comply with the association’s high quality standards of care. These standards cover nearly every aspect of our hospital, including surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, pet health records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental and nursing care, diagnostic imaging, and anesthesiology. Approximately 15 percent of animal hospitals in North America are accredited by AAHA.

 


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