Why ticks are so dangerous to humans and pets — Catherine’s student essay

Why Ticks Are So Dangerous To Humans And Pets?

Ticks have six to eight legs and are classified as arachnids which is related to the spider family. Ticks can attach on humans and pets and cause the infected site to become red, inflamed, transmit diseases, and cause allergic reaction. The most common encountered tick is the American dog tick also known as the wood tick. This tick is mainly found in North America in the spring and early summer and it feeds on domestic dogs by sucking the host’s blood. 

Why are ticks considered dangerous to humans and pets? According to the CDC if a person or a pet has been bitten by a tick and if left untreated for more than eight days of the onset of symptoms, it can lead to damage of the blood vessels which then damages the organ and tissues and lead to death. Signs and symptoms would include weakness, headache, neck stiffness, body rash, red spot, fever, muscle or joint pain, chills, and swollen lymph nodes, etc.

If an individual or pet scratches the site of the bite, it can cause infection. The best course of treatment would be antibiotics. For humans it is important to take probiotics when taking antibiotics since antibiotics kills our normal flora. To prevent your pets and yourself from getting bit by a tick or ticks, it is important to wear light-colored clothing, use a chemical repellent with DEET, give pets such as dogs bravecto, inspect pets on a monthly basis for any ticks, and wear long pants and sleeves.

Close-up of Tick attached next to an Australian Shepherd's eye

If you notice ticks on your pet and want to take immediate action, the best course of action is to use tweezers and gently pull the tick. It is especially important to not jerk or twist the tick because you risk leaving parts of the mouth on your pets’ skin. When I adopted my dog in 2017, I noticed black dots between her paws and found out it was a tick. I was very scared, and I was not sure how to remove or get rid of her ticks. At first, I did research on my phone and asked my local PetSmart for guidance. That is when the PetSmart associate referred me to giving my dog bravecto and by giving her a bath preferably using a tick removal comb.

tick crawling on human hand

Three years have past and now I am writing an essay on ticks to help with my school fees due to my family losing their jobs from COVID. If I had to give someone advice about ticks, whether that be for the individual or pet it would be to remain calm and assess the area of the tick. If the individual or pet is experiencing any signs and symptoms mentioned previously, it is best to see a provider to ensure safety for yourself and for the pet to visit the vet. Ticks are a normal part of life. Depending on the individual or pet, it can be dangerous because every individual and every pet responds to tick bites differently.

Author: Catherine Farr

West Coast University- Ontario
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