When it comes to ticks in Maryland, all eyes are usually on the deer tick, responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease, and nearly impossible to see.
While the deer tick, also called the black legged tick, and Lyme Disease are of concern to both dogs and people, other species of tick should also be on your radar.
Including the deer tick, there are five species of tick found in Maryland and Baltimore City.
The Lone Star tick is found widely in the southeastern and eastern US and is expanding it’s range northward and westward. Identified by the white spot on the back of the adult female, the lone star tick is of particular concern because it aggressively bites humans. Formally considered to be more of a nuisance parasite because it does not transmit Lyme Disease, the Lone Star tick can cause tick paralysis and can spread the pathogens that cause erlichiosis, tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It is a large tick with large mouth parts and the bite of this tick can be irritating. In humans, the bite can trigger an allergy to red meat.
This tick searches for hosts by hanging out on tall grass or low hanging twigs and branches. Even in urban areas, ticks can be brought into yards by raccoons, foxes and other pets.
Ticks are no longer a summer-only threat. They are hardy and resilient and can survive and hunt in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Changes in climate, combined with rising populations of ticks across the country mean your pet’s risk of contracting tickborne disease is higher, as well as your own.
Does your dog sleep in your bed? Did you know this is the perfect time–when you are asleep–for a tick to drop off your dog and bite you instead? Does that idea make your skin crawl?
BSAH recommends year round flea and tick prevention for this reason. That way, your pet is protected on warm days in the middle of the winter, and even on cold days when your house is warm and inviting.
Questions about flea and tick prevention and what product is right for your pet? Call the office or send us an email, we are happy to help!
photo credit: Flickr user Lisa Zins via Creative Commons CC By 2.0