Maintaining the health of your pets might depend on how you take their hygiene and diet. However, you must also watch out for conditions that can severely affect the health of your animal companion. One such condition is tick infestation and bites. Here’s what any responsible owner should know about these:
What is a Tick?
Before knowing why your pet gets ticks, you first want to know what these parasites are. It is important to know that these are parasitic organisms. This means that they latch onto animals (called the host) to feed off of the hosts’ nutrients. A parasitic symbiosis only benefits the parasite and is detrimental to the host. Because these live outside the host’s body, these are more aptly called ectoparasites.
Causes of Tick Bites
Now that you know what these organisms are, let’s dive into the causes of tick bites. When your pet gets bitten, it means that ticks find them perfect hosts. Ticks are attracted to warmth and certain odours. Usually, these parasites gravitate towards smells associated with lack of hygiene.
The environment plays a big role in acquiring these ectoparasites. You might think that keeping your animal companion indoors is a good way to prevent them from getting ticks. However, animals that spend a brief time outdoors is as prone to ticks as an animal that stayed indoors. If the area you live in is conducive to ticks or if you are experiencing warm weather conditions, your animal can get ticks and tick bites.
Effects of Tick Bites
The effects of bites can vary from animal to animal. This can also depend on the kind of tick that bit your pet. One of the mildest symptoms of these bites is little bumps on your pets’ skin. Keep in mind that these ectoparasites tend to feed on your animal. In the case of ticks, they consume your pet’s blood. This can cause anemia and fever.
More serious diseases can also come from these parasites. Some types release a toxin that can paralyze the host. For dogs, some critical illnesses include Lyme’s Disease, ehrlichiosis (which can cause nervous system disorders) and rocky mountain spotted fever. Cats can suffer from cytauxzoonosis (which causes an infection resulting in hemorrhaging) and haemobartonellosis (which affects oxygen supply).
Spotting and Prevention Tick Bites
These ectoparasites can be hard to detect as they are tiny. However, you can spot them through bumps in your pet’s skin. If your animal has a white and thin coat, these parasites can be visible.
The best way to prevent your pet from getting ticks is to bathe them regularly. If your pet does not have any signs of ticks, you can treat them using tick dips or collar. For those that exhibit symptoms, oral medications are available. Make sure to consult your veterinarian before taking any drastic measures.
Nothing screams responsible pet ownership than catching and treating any sign of unhealthy conditions in your animal. Armed with this knowledge, you can give your pet a more healthy and joyful life.