Ticks in Dogs | Information on Canine Ticks

Ticks in Dogs

What are Ticks?

Ticks are tiny parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. They are closely related to mites, spiders and scorpions. There are soft (argasid) ticks and hard (ixodid) ticks. Hard ticks are more common, reproduce faster and tend to cause more problems for domestic dogs. Ticks are attracted to animals by warmth, physical contact and odors. They can carry and transmit bacterial organisms that cause infectious diseases - such as Borrelia burgdorferi, which are the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Tick bites cause irritation to the skin around the area of the bite, itchiness, head-shaking (if the tick is on the face or in the ears) and sometimes even paralysis. They also can cause a dog to suffer fever, appetite loss, pain, lethargy and depression. Some ticks carry infectious organisms that can infect people, so owners should be vigilant when they remove ticks from their dogs.

Specific Ticks That Bother Dogs

The hard (ixotid) ticks that affect domestic dogs include:

  • Black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis): The black-legged tick primarily inhabits the northeastern, southeastern and midwestern United States, although it can also be found on the Pacific coast. Ixodes scapularis is responsible for borreliosis, also called Lyme disease, as it is a vector (carrier) of Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease in dogs causes arthritis, fever and sometimes neurological signs.
  • American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis): The American dog tick is found throughout North America. It is especially prevalent along the Atlantic coast, in areas of thick shrubs and long beach grass. Dermacentor variabilis is responsible for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis in dogs, because it is a carrier (vector) of Rhipicephalus ricketsii. Rocky Mountain spotted fever causes affected dogs to suffer from inflammation and death of the tissues of blood vessels (necrotizing vasculitis).
  • Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus): The brown dog tick is also widely distributed throughout North America. It is a carrier of Ehrlicia canis and is associated with babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and tick paralysis in companion dogs.

The soft (argasid) ticks that affect domestic dogs include:

  • The main soft (argasid) tick that affects dogs in the United States is the spinous ear tick (Otobius megnini). It is also common in South Africa, India and South America. The soft spinous ear tick causes irritation, head-shaking and overall ill-thrift.

Causes and Prevention of Ticks on Dogs

Dogs pick up ticks from the environment and less frequently from other animals. Different ticks live in different geographical areas. Ticks tend to be attracted to dogs by warmth, physical contact and odors, among other things.There are a number of commercial topical preventatives that are quite effective in managing ticks in companion dogs. Your veterinarian can recommend these products to you. Of course, avoiding outdoor areas that harbor ticks is an excellent way to reduce

Diseases Carried by Ticks

The brown dog tick is not a vector of human disease, but it is capable of transmitting canine piroplasmosis among dogs.The American dog tick may carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and other diseases from animals to people. Dogs are not affected by these diseases, but people have become infected by picking ticks from dogs. People living in areas where these wood ticks occur should inspect themselves several times a day. Early removal is important

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease was first recognized in 1975 as a distinct clinical disorder and is currently the most frequently reported vector-borne disease in the United States (CDC 1995). Transmission of the spirochete B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, occurs by the bite of Ixodes ticks. In the United States, the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say affects the greatest number of people for three principal reasons:Lyme disease is one of many tick-transmitted diseases. The Lyme

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Animals

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii (rick-ETT-cee-uh rick-ETT-cee-eye), which is carried by ticks. People usually start having fevers and feeling nauseous about a week after being bitten by a tick, although some people do not remember having had a tick bite. A few days after the fever begins, people who have Rocky Mountain spotted fever often have a rash, usually on their arms or ankles. They also may

Preventing Ticks in Dogs

Pesticidal control of ticks may require both pet treatment and treatment of the infested area. If a heavy tick infestation occurs it is necessary to treat pets, home, and yard at the same time. Established brown dog tick infestations of homes and yards are frequently difficult to control.Pets should be treated by using dusts, dip or sprays. Rub dusts into the fur to the skin being careful not to allow chemicals to get into the

Symptoms of Ticks in Dogs

There is no breed, age or gender predisposition to tick infestation. Affected dogs may show no signs or may exhibit signs of irritation at the bite site including redness, inflammation, chewing, scratching and self-trauma. Many tick species have adapted to suppress the host animal’s response, making their bites relatively painless. The more serious effects of tick bites are systemic illness from tick-borne infectious microorganisms, hypersensitivity reactions, neurotoxins in tick saliva that cause “tick paralysis” and

Blacklegged Tick (Deer Tick)

Adult deer ticks have no white markings on the dorsal area nor do they have eyes or festoons. They are about 3 mm and dark brown to black in color. Adults exhibit sexual dimorphism. Females typically have the area behind the scutum with an orange to red color. Figure 3. Two male and one female blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, questing on vegetation. Only the legs are visible from the second male tick, which

American Dog Tick

The American dog tick, is a common pest of pets and humans. The adult males and females are frequently encountered by sportsmen and people who work outdoors. Dogs are the preferred host, although the American dog tick will feed on other warmblooded animals. The nymphal stages of the American dog tick usually only attack rodents. For this reason the American dog tick is not considered a household pest.

Brown Dog Tick

The brown dog tick seldom attacks animals other than dogs. It is most likely found where dogs are kept in or around the house. The brown dog tick is not known to transmit diseases to humans but may transmit disease among dogs. The adult female tick lays a mass of 1000-3000 eggs after engorging on a dog's blood. These eggs are often found in cracks on the roof of

Treatment and Prognosis for Ticks on Dogs

You’ve discovered a tick on your dog, and you need to remove it as soon as possible. However improper tick removal can lead to skin infections, pain, and exposure to tick diseases. If you have found a tick on your dog, follow these safe tick removal steps below.Once you have located a tick, grab a pair of tweezers, and a container of alcohol. Do not remove the tick with your bare hands or you may

Source: PetWave

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