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June 1, 2023

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Ticks in Central Oregon

Are there any ticks in Central Oregon?
We get asked this question a lot. And the answer is YES!
There are 20 species of ticks in Oregon. Ticks are most active in spring and early summer (April – July). They seek a host by climbing out to the end of a branch or piece of grass and grabbing onto an animal or human passing by. In Central Oregon, ticks prefer areas with long grass, bitterbrush or manzanita.

Why do we worry about ticks?
Well, they bite us and our pets – no one likes that! But the main reason we worry is that ticks can carry diseases. Lyme disease is the first to come to mind. Of the 20 species of ticks in Oregon, only one carries Lyme disease – the Western Black-Legged Tick. It is estimated that 1 to 5% of Western Black-Legged Ticks carry Lyme disease. Compared to the rest of the country, we see a relatively low incidence of Lyme disease – about 10 human cases per year in Deschutes County. However there are other serious illnesses that are carried and spread by ticks, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. Ticks need to be latched onto a host for at least 24-48 hours in order to spread disease.

How do you avoid ticks?
Stay on trail. Keep your pets on trail. Do a tick check of you and your pets after a hike. For your dog or cat you can use preventatives (like Credelio) to kill any ticks that do attach before they have time to spread disease.

What should you do if you find an attached tick on your pet?
– Use tweezers to grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull it straight out
– Sometimes the barbed mouth parts will remain in the skin. Don’t worry about this too much. It can cause minor irritation like a sliver but cannot spread disease. Usually the body will expel the mouthparts like a sliver.
– Clean the area with mild soap and water

If you have any questions about ticks or if you would like to get preventatives (like Credelio) for you pet, please contact our office.