Ticks are a rather unpleasant topic but an important one nonetheless. It’s May in Ohio and the ticks are out there. The truth is they never went away. Some tick species can be active year round in Ohio but they are most commonly encountered in spring through mid-summer and again in the fall. Tickborne diseases are on the rise nationally and Ohio is no exception.

The best way to prevent tickborne diseases is to prevent tick bites. The most commonly talked about tickborne diseases are Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. People and pets can get sick from Lyme disease in every month of the year but cases in people tend to peak in July and August. This means most cases are bitten by an infected tick in June and July. It takes 3 to 30 days from the time of the bite to show symptoms of Lyme Disease in people and may take 2 to 5 months to show symptoms in pets. The best thing we can do right now to decrease risk of infection is to educate ourselves on how to be tick smart.

Approximately 12 tick species have been identified in Ohio, but the most commonly seen are the American dog tick, the Blacklegged tick and the Lone star stick. The American dog tick transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the Blacklegged tick transmits Lyme Disease. The American dog tick is most commonly encountered in grassy fields and other habitats with little to no tree cover. The blacklegged tick is more commonly encountered in woody and brushy areas.

Ticks can be encountered on your property, at the parks you visit, the trails you hike and many other outdoor places you go. Dogs and cats are more likely to pick up ticks because they walk lower to the ground where ticks are more likely to be. The best way to protect your pets from ticks is to help them avoid areas where ticks live. For those of us who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, avoidance may not always be possible and we need to make sure our pets are given regular preventatives to increase protection. Please talk to your Veterinarian for more information on which product is appropriate for your pet. These products when combined with an annual Lyme Disease Vaccination offer superior protection year round.