Ticks were once regarded as strictly rural parasites, but these hardy pests are now widely distributed in cities and suburbs. Together with the itching and irritation caused by ticks, there is always a possibility that they may be carriers of some disease organisms.
The tick is an eight-legged, hard-shelled parasite that burrows into the skin and feeds on blood. It is not an insect, but an arachnid. Ticks are very rugged and stubborn parasites, capable of fasting for long respects, ticks are more dangerous than either the flea or louse. One female tick may deposit as many as 5,000 eggs in her lifetime.
The eggs are laid on the ground, usually in a sheltered site. After laying her eggs the female dies. When conditions are favorable, the larvae or seed ticks make their appearance, from three weeks to six months later. These seed ticks have six legs. When conditions are favorable they begin their search for food. Climbing to the top of weeds, grass, or brush, the seed tick awaits an intermediate host, usually a field mouse or other rodent, When the mouse or rodent brushes against the weeds or grass, the seed tick moves on to the animal’s hair and works its way down to the skin, where it digs in and gorges itself by puncturing the skin with its mouth and sucking blood from the opening.
The seed tick feeds for up to ten days and then drops off. Back on the ground again, the seed tick undergoes a metamorphosis, changing into an eight-legged form known as a nymph. When conditions are favorable, the nymph in its turn climbs up on vegetation and waits for a small rodent upon which to fasten. The nymph remains on the rodent for from three to ten days. After it is gorged with blood, the nymph falls to the ground and changes into an eight-legged adult tick. The adult tick repeats the tactics of the seed and nymph ticks, climbing up on vegetation and awaiting a victim. This time the victim may be a cat, dog, sheep, cow, or human being. As is apparent from the above description, the tick has a more elaborate life cycle than most other external parasites.
Cats infested with ticks are apt to be thin and anemic since the tick feeds on blood. Some ticks inject a toxin into the cat which affects the neuromuscular system. Also, infections or abscesses may form at the point where the tick punctures the skin as it burrows into the cat’s skin.
REMOVING TICKS FROM THE CAT
When there are only a few ticks on your cat, you can pull them outwit blunt-end tweezers, not the sharp or pointed type. Do not attempt to pull ticks off the cat with your fingers. First of all, ticks burrow in deeply and you may pull out only the body, leaving the head embedded in the skin. This head may later become a source of infection and irritation. Work carefully with the blunt tweezers and be sure to slide the entire body of the tick out of the cat’s skin. After you’ve withdrawn the tick, ply antiseptic powder to the site of the skin puncture. Ticks may also e loosened by soaking them in vinegar, alcohol, or acetone (nail polish remover).
When a cat is heavily infested with ticks, it must be dipped in a special tick solution. Dusting with powder is not as effective as a dip. But the dip must be a safe one. Use a commercial dip containing rotenone or pyrethrum. When dipping the cat, use the same procedures for bathing.
TICKS IN THE HOUSE
Once ticks are entrenched in a house or other building, they are difficult to eradicate. They work their way into crevices and remain indefinitely, whether or not the premises are heated. When eliminating ticks on the cat, therefore, it is obviously wise to spray the premises, as well. Since the spray will not ordinarily come into contact with the cat, you can use a commercial tick spray. Spray into all cracks and under rugs, in the corners of furniture, and in other likely hiding places. Spare no effort in getting rid of ticks. Once you have them in the house and permit them to remain there, they can cause a great deal of misery and expense.
If you vet in a tick-infested region, it is important to eradicate ticks from the surrounding area by breaking up their life cycle. When possible, elemi to all intermediate hosts such as field mice and rabbits. Mow or cut tail needs, grass, and brush which might serve as feeding and observation sots for the seed, nymph, and adult ticks. A rigid tick control program e is a must if you are to keep your cat and house freeform this paresis as.
See more: Cat Ear Mites