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Nice weather feels great and encourages you to get outside, but relaxing in your yard or taking a hike could also bring you into contact with ticks. Although ticks are small, they have the potential to transmit diseases and therefore should be taken very seriously. It is important to know what ticks look like and what signs appear when a tick transmits a disease. Read about tick identification here, including how to identify tick bites on people and pets.
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A tick will look a little different depending on the type you encounter. Remember ticks are not insects; instead, they are arachnids. In general, arachnids lack antennae and have four pairs of legs when they are adults.
Ticks can be either hard or soft ticks. Hard ticks have mouthparts that are apparent from above, and they are made up of palps, chelicerae, and the hypostome. The hypostome enters the skin of the host when the tick feeds. Hard ticks have a scutum (plate) on the back of their body. On female hard ticks, the scutum only partially covers the female’s back. Soft ticks do not have a scutum.
A tick bite may turn into a small red bump that’s tender and warm, at the place where the bite occurred. If transmission of Lyme disease has happened, a red rash may appear that can look like a bull’s eye. The rash can show up in 3 to 30 days. The rash becomes bigger over time and can be mistaken for a spider bite. It is possible for blisters to form at the rash location.
Rashes can also form due to Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), tularemia and ehrlichiosis. The RMSF rash typically starts 2-5 days after fever begins, and it can be found on your forearms, wrists and ankles and other places. It consists of small pink spots but a red to purple rash may manifest itself later. If you get tularemia, a skin ulcer could appear.
As your dog is a cherished member of the family, it probably pains you to think about your dog being bitten by a tick, but these pests can indeed feed on dogs. It is important to talk with a veterinarian about tick treatment for your dog if it gets ticks.
The American dog tick is one tick that feeds on the blood of domestic canines. When un-engorged, adult female ticks of this species are around 3/16 inch in length (but can be up to around ⅝ inch when engorged), and males are about ⅛ inches. American dog ticks are brown in color and have whitish or grayish marks.
Meanwhile, the brown dog tick can also feed on dogs. It is red-brown in color and does not often feed on humans. Brown dog tick adults typically live between dog toes and in their ears. Your pooch could get ticks from places like vet offices, kennels or homes that are infested.
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