We do our best to take care of our pets, no matter if they’re furry, scaly, feathery or aquatic. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to tell if they’re suffering from an illness or injury as most animals do very well in hiding symptoms. There’s one problem that our furry loved ones can be dealt with, especially in the summer.

A tick infestation can be deadly if not treated quickly. Every year, dozens of dogs, cats and other furry pets die due to severe tick problems. In this piece, we’ll discuss what ticks are and how to tell if your pet has them.

Ticks are just one of the many parasites that can cause trouble for pets. Get in touch with us if you feel your furry loved one needs treatment.

What Are Ticks and What Can They Do?

Ticks are members of the arachnid family and can cause serious health-related problems in both animals and humans. They are classified into three groups: Nuttalliellidae, Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks). As they feed on blood, it’s common for them to spread illnesses such as:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Q Fever
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia

For furry pets, ticks can present a serious health issue. Firstly, they will attach themselves to your pet’s skin with their mouth. They will then begin feeding on blood, causing the surrounding area to become red and irritated. Although rare, if a tick infestation on your pet goes ignored or unnoticed, anemia can result and possibly even death.

Spotting Them in the House

One of the first signs of a tick infestation on your pet is spotting them in your home. The chances of this are higher if your pet is constantly indoors. Their appearance varies depending on their breed, gender and lifecycle. Most ticks appear as small, spider-like insects. The more blood they’ve consumed, the larger they will be.

If you happen to spot one in your home, chances are there are many more around. Inspect your pet’s fur and skin for signs of an infestation. Be sure and wear gloves when doing so as ticks can bite and transmit diseases.


Another sign that your pet is suffering from tick bites is having a fever. This can last either 24 hours or several days, at which point a visit to the vet will be required. Signs of fever include strange panting, weakness, no appetite and shivering. Again, inspect your dog or cat’s fur for ticks if he/she is running a fever.


A pet suffering from scabs can be normal, especially if he/she is an outdoor animal. However, if you notice that your dog or cat has scabs that are frequent or cover various areas, then take a closer look to see if ticks are present.

Head Shaking

It’s quite normal for your dog to shake their head after a bit of roughhousing. With a cat, it can be normal after they’ve bathed. If you notice your pet shaking their head more than usual, then there may be the possibility of a tick in their ear(s). Ticks prefer damp places to feed, so the ears or area between the legs should be examined. Be sure to use a flashlight when inspecting their ears.


If you happen to notice small bumps on your pet’s skin while petting them, quickly spread their fur and check their skin. As we said before, ticks bites can appear reddish on the skin, and may even be felt. Don’t ignore small bumps on their skin, especially when there are several of them.

Treating Your Pets Like Family

We understand how important your furry loved ones are to you. At Valley Animal Hospital, we treat all animals as if they were our own pets. Tick infestations should not be ignored. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from ticks, bring them in for an examination as soon as possible. Our McAllen vets will do what they can to treat their condition.

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