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

Why Ticks Are So Dangerous To Humans And Pets?

Have you ever had a tick attach itself to you, family or friends or even you dog or cat? If you answered yes, you probably were either concerned or simply had a negative reaction to the visual stimulus.

The better question is ‘Are ticks dangerous’ and that is a more concerning question. Yes, then can be if left attached to our person or to our pets’ body. Let’s talk about the potential dangers to humans and our pets.

For humans, ticks are generally harmless while they can be dangerous or deadly depending on our DNA, yes our make-up, length of time attached, and even the type of tick or diseases they may transmit. Normally, a tick left on our person will grow in size by sucking blood from us, while they are noticeable and most normally can be ‘picked off’ before they cause too much skin irritation. 

IF you are spending time in longer grasses or wooded areas for sure (think 4th of July at the lake), then make sure you inspect areas of your body and help others do the same. A key area is the top of your head where ticks can easily hide in our hair. 

Virus transmittable to the human body and Lyme disease is a real serious one in the geography I reside, while another one with an interesting name is the Bourbon virus which is also in the Midwest. There is little known about the Bourbon virus and precautions like long sleeved clothing when outside is important and it can cause rash and irritation, to include tiredness but is not know as deadly.

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

How about our pets? For this purpose, I will focus on dogs as they are common in my community. Man’s best friend spends time outside nearly everyday in my community. They are a curious bunch and tend to come back to the house full of burrs from brush areas, and tend to like to meet or fight with new animals that enter their space.

tick crawling on human hand

The problem with ticks is that they can attach to a dog’s body without them knowing it. Dogs are basically ‘a lot of hair’ so similar to humans, an inspection of hair is a painstaking approach so the delay in removing is a greater risk in our dog. Similar effects can happen from a tick attached to your dog as in humans while in rare cases it could cause anemia! Dogs are smaller so than humans most of the time, and that can cause a real problem combined with the lateness in finding the predator. With dogs, there are tick / ‘bug’ related products to utilize on them as preventative and I strongly encourage consideration for that as a deterrent.

In summary, Yes, ticks are dangerous and I have outlined a few examples, and measures to prevent or identify them in a timely fashion so that your can enjoy your Summer in the Midwest similar to me.

Author: Paige Keller

University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.