San Jose Pet Parent’s Guide
Brought to you by the veterinarians and staff at Story Road Animal Hospital
Creepy-Crawling, Jumping, Biting, Buzzing, Blood-Sucking and Disease Spreading Parasites that LOVE Your Precious Pets
In this 3-part article we’re talking about the disease spreading bugs we see most often here in San Jose; mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. More than just a nuisance when they buzz, bite and sting, these bugs also carry diseases which can seriously harm your pets. And some can even infect you or your children.
Part Three of a Three-Part Series
Ticks pose serious health risks to both people and pets. Ticks carry and spread Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, and possibly human granulocytic anaplasmosis which can be fatal to humans.
Dozens of different species of ticks have been identified in California, but the four most common ticks we see here in San Jose are:
Western Black Legged Tick
Pacific Coast Tick
Brown Dog Tick
American Dog Tick
People and dogs are both susceptible to Lyme disease. If you see a tick stuck on your pet’s skin (biting) or a tick engorged with blood and has fallen-off of your pet (already took a blood meal) contact a veterinarian immediately. There are some cases in which the veterinarian may need to identify the species of tick to help understand the diseases that may have been transmitted to your pet. Same goes for people, your family doctor will need to know which species of tick you found on a family member or on yourself. Ticks pose serious health risks.
Q: What is Lyme Disease?
A: Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness, is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick.
Q: What is the best way to keep my pets safe from ticks?
A: Once again, prevention is the best medicine. As Dr. Sarah discussed in her blog article here, the Seresto collar can help control both fleas and ticks.
Check your pet for ticks that may have attached to your pet’s fur. Get them now, before they bite and start feeding.
Control your own environment as much as possible, which includes removing fallen leaves, pine needles, weeds, junk piles, and general debris in your own yard that make for a nice shady spot for ticks to breed.
Use extra caution when taking your pet on walks or hikes through, or even alongside, wooded areas or tall grass. Although they can’t fly or jump, ticks actually “perch” on the top of tall grasses / weeds / shrubs waiting for an unsuspecting host (your dog – or your legs) to brush by – then they release from their perch and latch on. Once they are on your dog (or you) they crawl to find a good spot to bite and feed.
Here is a short video that shows how the tick uses a blade of grass as a launch pad:
Q: What should I do if I see a tick on my pet?
Contact a veterinarian. Do NOT attempt to burn the tick. Do NOT use alcohol, fingernail polish remover or any other liquid. These techniques are ineffective and can do more harm than good.
Once a tick has latched-on and begun feeding on the host, it can be difficult to safely and completely remove. We see secondary skin infections because the tick’s head or mouth area was left hidden inside the pet’s skin when the pet parent thought they had safely removed the entire tick.
Here are a few websites offering further explanation about the health risks associated with ticks:
Please feel free to reach out to us at Story Road Animal Hospital. We all live right here in San Jose and we all have pets, too. Although only a licensed veterinarian can diagnose and prescribe, our knowledgeable staff would be happy to discuss mosquito, flea and tick control ideas with you. And we’d love to hear what is working for you.