Ticks of South Florida

Ticks of South Florida

Whether you are a parent to a cuddly pup, a mischievous kitten, a slithery reptile, or a feathered friend it is also good to know what creepy crawlies you need to protect them from. In general, ticks seem less prevalent in Florida in comparison to our more northern neighbors, but they still are something pet owners need to be on the lookout for.

How do the ticks of South Florida attack our pets?

There are six species of ticks commonly seen in Florida and all six can affect your pets. Typically, the ticks of South Florida will infect a host during the spring and summer months while in their larval or nymph stages. This is possible because they are usually so small they can go unnoticed compared to the larger adults. During this time any diseases the tick may be carrying may be transferred to the host. 

Black-Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)

deer tick

The Black-Legged Tick, also known as the Deer Tick, is a main carrier of Lyme disease. Nymph and Larvae stages are more prevalent April to August and typically take up host in reptiles, birds, and some rodents. The adults are more abundant September through May, in which their primary hosts are often larger cattle and humans. They can also carry Babesiosis, which is a malaria-like parasitic disease that is beginning to emerge in the United States and parts of Europe.  Image from floridahealth.gov

Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)

lone star tick

In Florida, the Lone Star is the tick most likely to bite humans. The larvae are most abundant June to November, the nymphs February to October, and the adults April to August. Larvae and nymphs typically take host on small mammals and birds, while the adults can be found on deer, cattle, and humans. They will typically transmit ehrlichiosis, a bacterial illness that causes flu-like symptoms, or southern tick-associated rash illness.
Image from floridahealth.gov

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

brown dog tick

Unlike other tick species, the Brown Dog Tick can complete an entire lifecycle indoors, even in the northernmost states. It mainly feeds on dogs, but can be found on cats and other mammalians. Households can become infested if they are not taken care of properly. Pets can suffer with Babesiosis, a malaria-like parasitic disease, and Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial flu-like illness. This tick can easily be transferred from one host to another, so cats and dogs in the same home can easily be affected. Very rarely do these ticks affect humans.

 

American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

Unlike the Brown Dog Tick, the American Dog Tick cannot complete its life cycle indoors, so they do not lead to infestations. Larvae and Nymphs are abundant most of the year July to March, and they mainly take host on small rodents. The adults, prevalent March to September typically take host on a large variety of mammals, including dogs and humans. These ticks are known to cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can cause paralysis in dogs, cats, and children. A full recovery can be made if the tick is removed in time.
Image from floridahealth.gov

Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum

The Gulf Coast Tick is prevalent in the southeastern states. The larvae and nymphs are abundant February to August and the adults March to November. They are similar to the American Dog Tick in that they take up similar host species. They can cause a less severe form of Rocky Mountain Fever, Rickettsia parkeri.
Image from floridahealth.gov

Argasid Tick

The Argasid Tick, also known as “soft” ticks, are a common tick found in animal shelters, burrows, caves, or poor-quality living conditions. Adult females lay several clutches of eggs during their lifecycle. They are commonly known to transmit Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial flu-like illness, or southern tick-associated rash illness.
Image from floridahealth.gov

How to prevent ticks in your pets:

Check your pets frequently for ticks, bumps, lumps, and odd colors. By doing this you may not only prevent them from a tick-related disease but from something potentially more severe. If at anytime you notice your pet acting strange after being outdoors or you notice anything abnormal on their body, take them to a vet immediately.

The majority of symptoms pets will suffer from a tick related disease are flu-like symptoms that include a fever, aches and pains, vomiting, and a rash. Some diseases can be more severe, but that is not very common. The good news is that we can lessen our pets’ suffering by being alert and proactive pet owners.

Resources:

  1. Floridahealth.gov 
  2. Solutions for your Life

 

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Cats

Ten Holiday Gifts for Your Cat

Christmas time is around the corner, and most of our cat sitting clients are thinking of buying their beloved kitties a gift for the holidays. The holidays are, after all, a perfect time to give your feline something special, but how to choose? Here are some great gift ideas for your furry feline, courtesy of Angie, one of our dedicated cat sitters. Let us know if your cats approve of the gifts you give them… or if they prefer the boxes they came in!

1.  Quality Time: 15-30 Minutes of Daily Interactive Play Time with Physical Toys Daily! Avoid flashlights and lasers and invest in physical toys for that satisfying catch after the hunt! A physical toy stimulates cats mentally- allowing them to use stealth and strategy. But the best play environment requires you to be present and to set them up properly! Play with your lures the way a prey would act. Keep the

We love NekoFlies– the lures at the end are very lifelike in movement. These toys, like many interactive string toys, are designed to be used with you around. Do not leave them alone around your kitties- keep them safe, and keep the toys special!

2. Cat scratching posts. Redirect your cat from sharpening his or her claw on your furniture with a scratching post. Many sizes and types can be found at major pet store retailers and by doing a quick search on the internet.

3. Puzzle Feeders
We love puzzle feeders for mental enrichment- and you can even make your own DIY cat food puzzle toys! They are a great way to enrich your cat’s day while you’re away at work. Check out Kong Cat Wobblers, Pet Safe, and Our Pets if you don’t have time to make your own.

4. Cat perches or a Catio: There is a variety of types of cat perches where you can place the perch on a wall by your kitty’s favorite sunny spot where he or she can snuggle up for hours. Many cats love being in the highest place in your home.

A Catio is perfect for your indoor kitty. The catio allows them to take in sun, smell the fine air, and observe birds and local wildlife without harm to them or your kitty.

5. Catnip bubbles. Endless entertainment for you and your feline when you blow bubbles for your kitty to pop while they are under the intoxicating scent of catnip. Not every cat loves a bubble, though- be sure to purchase gifts that work with your kitty’s personality.

6. Cat tunnel: These tunnels come in an array of colors and allow your cat to fit through a tight space.

7. Christmas Catnip Toys: During the holiday season, it is quite simple to find catnip play toys for your cat. It’s difficult to tell who gets more enjoyment, the owner or the cat, when using these special smelling toys that can quickly spread Christmas cheer throughout the home. These toys can be purchased at PetSmart, PetCo, Target, and online at various websites.

8. Christmas costumes for the kitty: Okay, so this is more for you. But dressing up your kitty up in holiday costumes to have your annual Christmas photo taken is so worth it (as long as they really don’t mind too much)! These costumes may be found at major pet store retailers and online at different pet care websites.

9. Monthly gift boxes. This is the gift that keeps on giving for your favorite feline! There are quite a few available. These are the top four we found:

10. Litter Genie: Quite possibly the most ingenious device since sliced bread. The litter genie provides an easy way to dispose of cat waste from the litter box to minimize odors and provide a cleaner area for your cat to use the restroom- which is great, considering a cat’s’ sense of smell is fourteen times greater than that of a human!

Good Dog Pack Walk: December 30th

Join us on Saturday, December 30, for a dog-friendly pack walk at Town Kitchen & Bar! 

Join your favorite dog trainer Dee Hoult, baby Jack, your friends from Equipaws Pet Services, and other like-minded dog lovers as we go on our monthly pack walk in South Miami!! The whole family is welcome to attend. We will be meeting promptly at 10 AM in front of Town. We will walk for an hour into the adjacent neighborhoods and then return to our starting point where water bowls will be waiting for our doggies! Pack walks are a great opportunity to enjoy the weather and spend time with your dog. This walk is also appropriate for dogs who are recovered reactive rovers.

TOWN KITCHEN AND BAR
7301 SW 57 CT
South Miami, FL 33143
10:00 am to 11:00 am

Please RSVP on our Facebook page!