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Facts about tick survival

Posted July 10, 2013 in Advice Column, Des Moines West

Tick facts: a tick’s guide to survival. Don’t tell anyone you aren’t super tick: You can’t jump or “fall from trees.” You do get excited and are attracted by movement, warmth from bodies and CO2 emitted by humans and pets. You are happy to hitchhike a ride when someone walks through tall grass, bushes and brush.

You spend more of your life off your host and in the environment: Some ticks can live and prosper inside people’s homes.

Be hardy and survive for a long time. Some females can survive for up to three years without a meal.

Lay lots of eggs. Ticks lay somewhere between 300 and 6000.

Have multiple lives or life stages: Ticks live on three different hosts during their life span, all requiring a blood meal. By the time a female has finished feeding she may have increased her weight by 100 times.

Don’t stress about the diseases you transmit. Your bite isn’t as bad as what you transmit. The bite may only cause local irritation. The diseases (Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Erhlicha) can cause serious illness in pets and people. Symptoms may be fever, paralysis, lameness, anemia and others.

Stay away from pets that have attentive owners. They will especially be checking the head, ears, and paws (your favorite hiding places) after they have been in your neighborhood.

Stay away from pets that have seen their veterinarians. they will be routinely using safe and effective tick products.

Information provided by Dr. Nancy T. Peterson, DVM, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 274-3555.

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