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 since disease organisms are not transferred until the tick has fed for several hours.
The American dog tick is also known to cause paralysis in dogs and children where ticks attach at the base of the skull or along the spinal column. Paralysis is caused by a toxic secretion produced by the feeding tick. When the tick is removed, recovery is rapid, usually within 8 hours. Sensitized animals may become paralyzed by tick attachment anywhere on the body.
Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks. Most transmission occurs in the New England states, and the primary vector is the deer tick. The American dog tick and the brown dog tick are not considered important vectors of Lyme disease. In cases of tick bites where Lyme disease is suspected, a physician should be contacted so that appropriate blood tests can be done for the patient.
- This document is ENY-206, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: June 1991. Revised: February 2003.
- P. G. Koehler, professor/extension entomologist and F. M. Oi, assistant extension entomologist, Entomology and Nematology Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.