Ticks

 

Ticks
 

A tick is a small, wingless, external parasite that lives off the blood of mammals and birds. The diseases that ticks can carry are more serious than the ticks themselves which normally "fall off" once they have finished feeding.

Dog Health Issues - Description of Ticks
Ticks are the small, wingless, external parasites. As parasites they live off the blood of mammals, birds, and occasionally reptiles and amphibians. They are not insects such as fleas and flies but are arachnids like mites and spiders. Ticks are generally much larger than other mites and engorged female ticks of some species reach 30 mm in size.

 

 

Ticks can transmit human and livestock diseases. There are nearly 1000 species of Ticks and these have been divided into two groups - the hard shell tick and the soft shell tick.

Hard Shell Ticks
Hard Shell Ticks are named Ixodidae and possess the hard outer covering, or shells, made of chitin.  There are many more hard shell ticks than the soft shell variety. The American Dog Tick is called Dermacentor Variabilis and is the most well-known of the North American hard ticks. The American Dog Tick lives in the entire east of the United States. The Brown Dog Tick is called the Rhipicephalus Sanguineus and is a serious threat to kennels in any area of the United States. Hard ticks embed themselves underneath the skin of a host for long periods of time. Hard, or Ixodid ticks, have three hosts, one for each stage of the life cycle (larvae, nymph and adult), but in some species this has been reduced to just one. Hard ticks need several days to feed, and once the female is engorged she drops from the host to lay many thousands of eggs. Studies have shown that Hard ticks have amazing longevity and have been observed to live for many years and through long periods of starvation.

Soft Shell Ticks
Soft Shell Ticks are named Argasidae and have a soft outer covering, or shells.  There are fewer soft shell ticks than the hard shell variety. The one most well known  soft shell tick is the Otobius Megnini also known as the Spinose Ear Tick. The Spinose Ear tick is found in the Southwest of the United States and is so called because it attaches itself and feeds on ears.  Soft ticks typically live in crevices and emerge briefly to feed - the head of Argasids cannot be seen. Soft, or Argasid ticks, only feed intermittently and do not remain attached to their hosts. They may feed many times over their lifetime on a number of different hosts and will often lay only a few hundred eggs.

Ticks - Blood Suckers
Ticks feed by sucking the blood of their hosts (our dogs). They have a device in their mouth which allows them to anchor themselves firmly in place while sucking blood. Forcefully pulling a tick out from under the skin can leave the head behind.

Tick Removal
Quick removal of ticks will help prevent diseases, such as Lyme disease, because the tick must remain attached to the dog’s body for at least one day before the disease can be transmitted. Care must be taken to remove a tick because forcefully pulling a tick out from under the skin often leaves the head behind. Careless squeezing of the tick may also force any bacteria from the tick into the bloodstream. The application of irritants such as lighted cigarettes, matches, alcohol, nail polish, or vaseline can also have the same effect. The recommended process to remove a tick is as follows:

  • Do not use your fingers to remove a tick
  • You can use tweezers but preferably use special tick removal instruments
  • Grasp the tick as near to the skin as possible
  • Pull firmly, steadily and straight - no jerking or twisting movements
  • To kill the tick place it in alcohol
  • Save the tick for identification
  • Clean the bite wound with an antibiotic ointment

After removing a tick there may be some swelling, due to the tick's toxic saliva, which can take up to one week to disappear. In some instances permanent scarring may also occur.

The Anatomy of Ticks
Young Ticks have three pairs of legs the adult tick has four pairs of legs. They are wingless and so they crawl but cannot fly. Ticks possess a sensory pit called Haller's organ situated on the first tarsus (toe). This structure senses odor, heat and humidity. Haller's organ enables ticks to locate their food source.

The Habitat of Ticks
Ticks are at their most prevalent in the Spring. They climb upon tall grass and when they sense an animal is close by (by use of the Haller's organ, they crawl on. They will often drop off of the host when full, but the feeding process may take several days.

The Life Cycle of Ticks
Understanding the life-cycle is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented. All Ticks have four stages to their Life Cycle:

  • Egg - Eggs are laid on the ground until they hatch into larvae
  • Larvae (seed tick) - sense an animal, its first host, and attaches itself to begin feeding  and when full they fall to the ground. The larvae then 'molts' into the next stage
  • Nymph - it senses an animal, its second host, and attaches itself to begin feeding. When full they fall to the ground. The Nymph then 'molts' into the final adult stage of its life cycle
  • Adult - attaches itself to its third host begins feeding when full they fall to the ground. The male ticks then die. The female ticks lay eggs in the Spring
 

Dog photograph

 

Tick Control - Outdoor Environment
The control of ticks is a two sided process - controlling the ticks on a dog and controlling the environment - the yard and the kennel:

  • Clear any tall grass from the yard
  • Remove leaves and clear brush
  • Spray insecticides over area monthly
  • Treat kennel with insecticide

Ticks - Control & Treatment - Indoor Environment

  • Frequently wash the dog's bedding
  • Apply insecticide to likely areas
  • Remember that ticks can only crawl so apply insecticide to the edges of wall and flooring / carpets in order to deal with them as they try to crawl higher
  • Spray insecticides over any cracks in windows or doors
 

Ticks -  Control & Treatment - The Dog

  • Tick control sprays for selected areas
  • Dips can be applied to the entire animal
  • Tick shampoo can be applied to the entire animal
  • Tick Collars
  • Vaccinations for Lyme Disease

Dog Health Advice
We hope that the canine health information and dog health advice has been of some assistance. But please remember that if you are in doubt about your Dog's Health please consult your Canine Health Specialist.

 

Online Encyclopaedia of Common Dog Health Problems
The sole purpose of the Online Encyclopaedia of Common Dog Health Problems is as a reference manual to provide useful information to dog and puppy owners. It is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat sick dogs or as a substitute for obtaining professional veterinary advice. Please remember that if you are in any doubt about your Dog's Health please consult your Canine Veterinary Specialist immediately.

 

Ticks

 

Dog Breeds Alphabet

Dog Names & Breeds Site Index Canine Health
Ticks - Soft Shell - Hard Shell - Blood Suckers - Tick Removal - Life Cycle - Control - Facts - Common Canine Dog Health Problems - Dog Sickness Symptoms Sorter - Health Care Checklist - Questions - Advice - Preventing - Prevention - Issues - Description - Symptoms - Causes - Treatment - Canine - Dog - Dogs - Puppy - Symtoms - Origins - Description - Living conditions - Exercise Requirements - Life Expectancy - Information - Facts - Origins - Info - Pups - Puppys - Puppies - Breeds - Online Encyclopaedia - Ticks - Ticks - Soft Shell - Hard Shell - Blood Suckers - Tick Removal - Life Cycle - Control - Facts - Common Canine Dog Health Problems - Dog Sickness Symptoms Sorter - Health Care Checklist - Questions - Advice - Preventing - Prevention - Issues - Description - Symptoms - Causes - Treatment - Canine - Dog - Dogs - Puppy - Symtoms - Origins - Description - Living conditions - Exercise Requirements - Life Expectancy - Information - Facts - Origins - Info - Pups - Puppys - Puppies - Breeds - Online Encyclopaedia - Ticks - Ticks - Soft Shell - Hard Shell - Blood Suckers - Tick Removal - Life Cycle - Control - Facts - Common Canine Dog Health Problems - Dog Sickness Symptoms Sorter - Health Care Checklist - Questions - Advice - Preventing - Prevention - Issues - Description - Symptoms - Causes - Treatment - Canine - Dog - Dogs - Puppy - Symtoms - Origins - Description - Living conditions - Exercise Requirements - Life Expectancy - Information - Facts - Origins - Info - Pups - Puppys - Puppies - Breeds - Online Encyclopaedia - Ticks - Ticks - Soft Shell - Hard Shell - Blood Suckers - Tick Removal - Life Cycle - Control - Facts - Common Canine Dog Health Problems - Dog Sickness Symptoms Sorter - Health Care Checklist - Questions - Advice - Preventing - Prevention - Issues - Description - Symptoms - Causes - Treatment - Canine - Dog - Dogs - Puppy - Symtoms - Origins - Description - Living conditions - Exercise Requirements - Life Expectancy - Information - Facts - Origins - Info - Pups - Puppys - Puppies - Breeds - Online Encyclopaedia - Ticks - Written By Linda Alchin