==> Dog Tick?

How to Prevent Ticks and...

How To Get Rid Of Ticks

Don't forget you can now share your experience with fellow dog owners at the end of this page.

This MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL is about TICKS. Almost as much as the last Periodical - the last Flea Periodical was a BOOK, I won't do that again, I haven't seen questions and feedback yet, seems like no one survived reading that much!??

However, this Periodical I made region-specific - as much as I could, a LOT of work again! :roll:

I left out the Latin names of the ticks, as no one needs them here. To make it as simple for you as the last Periodical, just click where you are based to see the locally prevalent ticks and tick diseases. You will then be led through to all important points thereafter:

Ticks in North America

American ticks

About 90 tick species are known to be endemic in continental U.S., but just about 10% of these (~9) bite dogs and people, and are known vectors to dangerous pathogens that can affect animal and human health. Obviously, here we will only look at those 9. However, as you will see in a moment, just these few tick species alone are more than you'd like to host.

Like everywhere else, most american ticks (about 80) are hard ticks (Ixodidae), only about 10 american ticks are soft ticks (Argasidae). What this means for you is explained further below under Ticks for everyone.

Where are they?

One american tick, the Brown Dog Tick, enjoys to be hosted by farmers and families all across the United States, including Hawaii, except in Alaska. - There are no common infectious ticks in Alaska, however the endemic tick that goes by the name Ixodes angustus has experimentally proven that it has vector competency to transmit lyme disease (later under tick diseases).

The geographical distribution of the 'hot spots' of the Brown Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick and Gulf Coast Tick I was able to combine in the single map shown below (tick-individual maps came from CDC):

Ticks USA 1

Note that ticks know no political systems, state borders, north-south or east-west differences (or religions). Ticks feel welcomed by any host anywhere who lives inmidst suitable flora and fauna, and who provides them with a blood meal of their choice.

The American Dog Tick enjoys the flora and fauna and diet all across the eastern half of the United States plus California. The Lone Star Tick is keeping up pretty well, and is already endemic all over the mid and south east of the U.S.:

Ticks USA 2

Note that the American Dog Tick and the Lone Star Tick are active host-seekers - these ticks will 'go the extra mile' to pay a tick-friendly host a surprise visit. Particularly the American Dog Tick, when it senses a regular source of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide (like from a human dwelling), this tick species may literally crawl towards the house and even crawl up the outside walls towards the window screens and doors (as reported in one case of professional tick spotters).

The Lone Star Tick is particularly aggressive. Even its larvae will bite humans, whereas none of the other tick larvae is known to do that.

The Blacklegged Tick (or Deer Tick) all over east and mid-south U.S., and the Western Blacklegged Tick along the Pacific coast have fallen behind (or woke up late), neither of these have yet conquered central U.S. (see map below). This doesn't mean they can't be found there anywhere (a few adventurous representatives have been seen more or less everywhere), it just means their 'middle class' isn't (yet) expanding there. For more, see later Why ticks migrate.

Ticks USA 3

Also note that, without a host, the blacklegged tick or deer tick is a passive host-seeker - these ticks rarely move horizontally more than a few meters. This doesn't mean though that these ticks aren't migrating: Over years and decades they are incrementally drawn towards a host-source, like say the shady edge of a pasture or a regularly used deer trail or parkland path.

However, the Western Blacklegged Tick or Pacific Coast Tick spreads more and more along the ... well, Pacific coast! (the name-giving researchers make it too easy for us ;-) ) And the Latino relatives of all ticks that go by the name of Cayenne Tick (mnemonic: Porsche Cayenne; now I made it easy for you ;-) ) are totally ignoring the human-made Mexican border and are spreading into mid-south U.S.

So what exactly makes ticks spread out geographically? See later Ticks for everyone.

Before we get to tick diseases, let's briefly look whether Canadian ticks offer any specifics. Note that Canadian ticks are relevant to Americans too (and vice versa!) because...? Yes, ticks know no borders! - Not even borders that dogs know, if and when we make use of the respective dog training tool (more detail in the Dog Training Toolkit).

Canadian ticks

Ticks common in Canada:

  • Blacklegged Tick or Deer Tick
  • Western Blacklegged Tick or Pacific Coast Tick
  • Ixodes Angustus (no common name)
  • Lone Star Tick
  • American Dog Tick
  • Brown Dog Tick
  • and Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

Oh, all the same? Yes, you noticed that Canada hosts the same tick species as the U.S., except for the Gulf Coast Tick and the Cayenne Tick (yet).

For the Western Blacklegged Tick or Pacific Coast Tick and the American Dog Tick I could find geo indications of where these ticks are most prevalent:

Ticks Canada

Tick Diseases

For a brief description of the subsequent tick diseases see Ticks for everyone, because disease descriptions are of global relevance.

Which tick diseases are endemic in North America?

Geographical distribution of the most prevalent tick-borne infectious diseases of humans with animal contact, primarily dogs (from Gideon database):

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis: tick vector-borne infection. Incubation period 7-63 days.

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Bunyaviridae

Bunyaviridae infections: tick, midge, and mosquito vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 10-15 days.

Colorado Tick fever

Colorado Tick fever: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 4-5 days.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

Relapsing fever

Relapsing fever: tick and louse vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-8 days.

Powassan

Powassan: tick vector-borne viral infection (and from consumption of infected dairy products). Incubation period 4-30 days.

Q-fever

Q fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection (and from consumption of infected dairy products). Incubation period 18-21 days.

Spotted fever group Rickettsioses.jpg

Spotted fever group (Flinders Island spotted fever, Israeli spotted fever, Japanese spotted fever,...): tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Tularemia

Tularemia: tick and fly vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-5 days.

West Nile fever

West Nile fever: mosquito and tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Drilling down in North America, here are the 'hot spots' of the three key tick-borne diseases:

  • Lyme disease: Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Minnesota
  • Anaplasmosis: Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
  • Ehrlichiosis: Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Oklahoma

In Canada, the reported cases for these tick diseases are MUCH lower. Due to its larger population, obviously Ontario tops the list of all reported cases of tick diseases in Canada:

  • Lyme disease: 3056
  • Anaplasmosis: 531
  • Ehrlichiosis: 444

Yet, all of these figures are dwarfed by U.S. states like the ones mentioned before, eg for Minnesota:

  • Lyme disease: 21163
  • Anaplasmosis: 19960
  • Ehrlichiosis: 1003

Eg Vermont:

  • Lyme disease: 8490
  • Anaplasmosis: 1370
  • Ehrlichiosis: 265

We can even drill down further in North America - thanks to an IDEXX app! Find out your neighborhood tick details here: IDEXX Canine Vector-Borne Disease Prevalence app. Let everyone know in the comment box at the end how helpful that was for your neighborhood.

Now you can jump to Ticks for everyone.

Ticks in South America

In contrast with North America, Europe and Asia, ticks of the genus Ixodes (hard tick) do not appear to be major players in transmitting diseases to humans or dogs in South America. Indeed, there is only one record of an Ixodes collected while feeding on man for all South America!

South American tick diseases

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Bunyaviridae

Bunyaviridae infections: tick, midge, and mosquito vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 10-15 days.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

Relapsing fever

Relapsing fever: tick and louse vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-8 days.

Spotted fever group Rickettsioses.jpg

Spotted fever group (Flinders Island spotted fever, Israeli spotted fever, Japanese spotted fever,...): tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

West Nile fever

West Nile fever: mosquito and tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Now you can jump to Ticks for everyone.

Ticks in Australia and New Zealand

Close to 100 Australian ticks species are known, and the most popular tick here is the Australian paralysis tick. Meaning it can cause paralysis from the neurotoxins the tick transfers with saliva into the host's body.

However, note that all ticks can cause paralysis in the bitten host! Namely when the tick bites close to the spine of the unwilling host. But the Australian paralysis tick is particularly full of neurotoxins, which allow it to paralyze the victim by biting pretty much anywhere on the body (human or dog). The tick doesn't do that intentionally (as to lame the host) but it's a side effect.

Tick Diseases in Australia and New Zealand

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Flinders Island spotted fever

Flinders Island spotted fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

Queensland tick typhus

Queensland tick typhus: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-7 days.

Now you can jump to Ticks for everyone.

Ticks in Europe

European Tick Diseases

One of the major tick diseases in Europe is tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). According to WHO, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has three known subtypes: the European (Western), the Far Eastern (spring-and-summer encephalitis) and the Siberian.

The virus is transmitted by the bite of infected ticks, and occasionally by ingestion of unpasteurized milk. No known person-to-person transmission. Infection can first lead to an influenza-like illness. About 30% of these cases develop further to high fever and signs of central nervous involvement. Encephalitis developing during this second phase may then result in paralysis, permanent sequelae or death.

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) tends to occur focally even within endemic areas! Currently, the highest incidences of clinical cases are being reported in the Baltic States, Slovenia and the Russian Federation. Other higher-incident countries are Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

  • Highest risk is during April to November, and when hiking or camping in forested areas up to an altitude of about 1500 meters
  • Wear long trousers and closed footwear!
  • The whole body should be inspected daily and attached ticks removed immediately
  • Avoid consumption of unpasteurized dairy products

 

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis: tick vector-borne infection. Incubation period 7-63 days.

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Bunyaviridae

Bunyaviridae infections: tick, midge, and mosquito vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 10-15 days.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

Relapsing fever

Relapsing fever: tick and louse vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-8 days.

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae infection: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Spotted fever group Rickettsioses.jpg

Spotted fever group (Flinders Island spotted fever, Israeli spotted fever, Japanese spotted fever,...): tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Tick borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 7-14 days. Vaccine available!

Tularemia

Tularemia: tick and fly vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-5 days.

West Nile fever

West Nile fever: mosquito and tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

One other tick-borne disease is pretty much unique to the UK: Looping-ill. Although there have now been a few cases in Spanish goats, Looping-ill originates from Scotland where it has affected sheep for centuries. The first human infection was recorded in 1934, and since then many (in the UK):

Louping-ill

Louping ill: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 4-7 days.

Louping-ill is unique for another reason - it is a complex disease: influenza-like illness plus encephalitis plus poliomyelitis-like illness plus hemorrhagic fever!

For Tick endemicity in the UK see this page.

Now you can jump to Ticks for everyone.

Ticks in Asia

Asian tick diseases

Astrakhan fever

Astrakhan fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-18 days.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis: tick vector-borne infection. Incubation period 7-63 days.

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Bunyaviridae

Bunyaviridae infections: tick, midge, and mosquito vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 10-15 days.

Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 1-6 days. Vaccine available!

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Japanese spotted fever

Japanese spotted fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Kyasanur Forest disease

Kyasanur Forest disease: tick vectore-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-12 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

North Asian Tick typhus

North Asian tick typhus: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-7 days.

Omsk haemorrhagic fever

Omsk haemorrhagic fever: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-9 days.

Relapsing fever

Relapsing fever: tick and louse vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-8 days.

Powassan

Powassan: tick vector-borne viral infection (and from consumption of infected dairy products). Incubation period 4-30 days.

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae infection: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Spotted fever group Rickettsioses.jpg

Spotted fever group (Flinders Island spotted fever, Israeli spotted fever, Japanese spotted fever,...): tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Tick borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 7-14 days. Vaccine available!

Tularemia

Tularemia: tick and fly vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-5 days.

Thogoto

Thogoto: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 4-5 days.

West Nile fever

West Nile fever: mosquito and tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Now you can jump to Ticks for everyone.

Ticks in Africa

African tick diseases

African Tick Bite fever

African Tick Bite Fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-18 days.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis: tick vector-borne infection. Incubation period 7-63 days.

Bacillary Angiomatosis

Bacillary angiomatosis: cat flea (but also tick) vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 16-22 days.

Bartonollosis

Bartonellosis: tick and cat vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-14 days.

Bunyaviridae

Bunyaviridae infections: tick, midge, and mosquito vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 10-15 days.

Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 1-6 days. Vaccine available!

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-21 days.

Israeli spotted fever

Israeli spotted fever: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 6-8 days.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-14 days.

Relapsing fever

Relapsing fever: tick and louse vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 7-8 days.

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae

Rickettsia sibirica mongolotimonae infection: tick vector-borne bacterial infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Thogoto

Thogoto: tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 4-5 days.

West Nile fever

West Nile fever: mosquito and tick vector-borne viral infection. Incubation period 3-6 days.

Ticks for everyone

Ticks are arachnids - like spiders! Hence I have decided to not like ticks at all. In fact, during the preparation of this Periodical (again!) my body has been giving me countless signals of a tick biting me somewhere, so much was itching. In the end, I have to admit, it turns out that the felt 'tick bites' were 'only' in my nerves. But I will be very grateful when this "vermin" series is over!!!

About 900 tick species globally are currently known. Only about 10% of these (~90) are known vectors to dangerous pathogens that can affect animal and human health. The regional chapters above gave more details on these.

There exist hard ticks (Ixodidae) and soft ticks (Argasidae). About 90% of all ticks are hard ticks (they have a hard shell). Only about 90 tick species globally are soft ticks: they have a soft leather-like cuticle and lack a scutum ('armor').

hard ticks and soft ticks

The first 90 ticks (the known vectors to dangerous pathogens) do not match the latter 90 ticks (the soft ticks). Quite the contrary: When you find a tick on your dog (or on yourself), it almost certainly is a female hard tick. Because female hard ticks attach to a host, feed for several days, and engorge to a size that is easily felt or seen on a person or pet.

Conversely, soft ticks consider their host a fast-food restaurant - they feed within just 30 to 60 min(!), and while the host is at rest (ie they feed in the den, burrow, or nest of the host).

tick anatomy explainedTo feed, both tick types cut open the skin of the host with their chelicerae ('knives'), and then immerse their barbed hypostome to suck blood (like fleas, ticks are vampires too).

Note that typically one cannot feel the 'tick bite', and neither can the dog. "Sharp knives cut clean" - that's why, with a sharp kitchen knife, we only feel the cut later. When a tick has cut you open, anything you feel later would only be the effect of neurotoxins or bacteria or viruses transmitted with the tick saliva.

Almost all tick diseases result from the bite of a hard tick. Only for tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) I know that it is the 'present' left behind for the host by a soft tick.

Unlike fleas, ticks can be very dangerous to their host, but they are not as good as a warrior: Most ticks seem to die within a day if the relative humidity falls somewhere below 80% - unless they are well-fed/engorged (in which case a tick can live a few days, because then the blood substitutes for the needed moisture).

Thus unlike fleas, ticks are unlikely to survive as coinhabitant in your house (all the less if you are one of those who use the service of a dessicant dehumidifier). Even nymphs that had a blood meal will not survive in a human dwelling the 30+ days it takes them to mature and bite again or lay eggs. Something less to worry about!

The need for high relative humidity is another reason why ticks don't climb high up on vegetation: The more humid leaf litter is on the ground.

Watch this - it's sort of a tick action movie - or tick love story? Whatever. It shows a tick questing for a host - courting a host ;-)

Tick questing at top of grass blade - questing: waving front legs, aiming to grasp a passing host: "Take me with you!"

Note that ticks quest for their next host no higher up than the height of their preferred host. Adult ticks' preferred host is of the size of small mammals up to a maximum height of deer size. Thus ticks normally reside in vegetation no higher up than our calves, and have not been found higher up than at about our waist. My childhood memory was that ticks fall down from trees. They don't. Do not worry about bushes above you, avoid those close to the ground.

Unless we lie down or reach down with our arm, ticks latch onto our legs, but they can latch straight on the back or head of our dog when the dog passes a bush. Again, an image says more than a thousand words:

no ticks on trees

So, how comes people find ticks on their head? Because, once ticks latch onto a host they like (they 'smell' that!), they tend to crawl up (probably motivated by the inherited 'instinct' to avoid being stripped off at the low end). But ticks cannot jump (they are not fleas), and they can't fly either (they have no wings).

Indeed, the questing video above makes clear that ticks seek physical contact before they latch, ie before they let go of their 'observation deck'! Ticks do not bridge a distance (air), not even by gravity, in order to settle down for a surprise meal at their new host. Again, something less to worry about!

Hence simply remember my above mnemonic:

Do not worry about bushes above you,
avoid those close to the ground

And why is this chapter called "Ticks for everyone"?

Because most tick species, and obviously including all the ticks that are responsible for tick diseases, have a preference for small mammals or dogs or deer but they don't say "no" to a human blood meal either! While ticks don't feed as often/as much as fleas - in times of need, ticks are unaspiring guests too (like fleas).

But if we, and the dog, typically cannot feel the 'tick bite' (see above), then how can we notice a tick on our dog, or on ourselves?

Before the tick is fed up with blood (sorry for the pun), the tick is so small that it is next to impossible to feel the tick on the dog's skin (regardless of the coat type of your German Shepherd).

Seeing the tick at the beginning of its meal is equally difficult - but it helps to know what to look out for. So...

Tick pictures

tick on grass bladeIn nature, ticks typically quest for a host either on the ground (adult ticks, nymphs, and larvae), or at the end of a leaf or grass blade (adult ticks only).

From there, most ticks attach to small mammals. Some prefer to ride with mid-sized mammals like dog and deer:

ticks everywhere

poppy tickEven adult ticks are tiny (until fed up). When you have a poppy seed roll for breakfast (delicious!), some seeds always fall off. In case you have telescopic vision like Super Goof (or easier, a microscope), the remainder of the roll will look like the image to the right.

For demonstration purposes someone placed a single tick among the poppy seeds, can you spot it? Probably you can, I put a red circle around the tick. That small is a tick, yes. Looks big here with Super Goof eyes, but next time you have a poppy seed roll for breakfast you will remember this Periodical and realize how tiny they are. ;-)

tick portraitGetting ever closer - now show me your face!

This is a close-up of a tick from the front (but I can't figure out if she smiles!?).

 

How to identify a tick

Let's say you've found a tick on your dog, and you want to know what love is. Read: what species it is. What can you do?

You can visit Tickencounter.org of the University of Rhode Island, they've built a fantastic pictured tick identification app - though I don't think it's available as iphone app yet, may be a good idea?

If you are in the USA, you may want to click your region and hold the tick you've found on suitable forceps next to your screen (or you may not want ;-) ). They really should make an app that takes a photo and compares them automatically, hm? Who of you is Apple fan and can suggest that?

If you are not in the USA, you can use the linked site nonetheless, you'll just have to click through multiple tick pages until you find the tick that matches the one you've found on your dog.

Does it matter?

Do you need to identify the tick species you found? No, not necessarily. But if your dog or you was 'bitten', then by all means yes, do keep the tick so that it can be identified the moment you get ill. Knowing which species of tick bit you or your dog is helpful because different ticks carry different diseases. Thus it increases your chance to get the right treatment.

Example: "In one study, 13 of 20 patients reporting tick bites to physicians were given antibiotics on the assumption(!) that they were at risk for Lyme disease, yet 53 of the 54 ticks removed from those same patients were lone star ticks, which do not spread Lyme disease" (from nationalgeographic.com) - thus, again, wrong treatment by doctors: Giving a (antibiotics) first, before considering that you may need b (biotic treatment)!

Why Ticks migrate

Ticks actually migrate, yes, they don't travel just for 'holidays' (see Tick life cycle). Slowly but steadily ticks migrate towards other suitable tick habitats (see How to prevent ticks). Climate change (an overall rising temperature) and changes in wildlife populations and forest habitats make ticks move.

BUT: This doesn't mean all of them move. Take an example: While you're reading this Periodical, the Cayenne Tick is further migrating from South and Middle America to North America - but it's not that now or anytime soon South and Middle America are Cayenne Tick-free because all moved north. Many of them stay in the south. But many others are migrating north (more than you'd want to host).

So how do ticks manage to bridge such great distances? The quick way: They attach to migrating birds. The slow way over decades: They attach to small mammals that slowly but steadily migrate too.

Tick life cycle

tick life cycleTicks have four life stages:

Egg - Larva - Nymph - Adult

The female adult tick is always much larger than the male adult tick.

But note that, unlike with fleas, with ticks larva, nymph, and adult look the same to the naked eye:

tick life stages

Only when you use a lighted magnifying glass you can see that larvae have three pairs of legs while nymphs and adult ticks have four pairs of legs.

Note that the colors in the tick image above have no meaning: Tick colors vary massively depending on tick type and region and if fed or unfed! - But none of them will win a beauty contest.

BAD for our dog and for us: Unlike fleas, during their life cycle ticks sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at THREE hosts!

tick host development

Even the larvae may attach to your dog (although this is rare), and nymphs and adult ticks may attach to your dog (very common). Most dogs and humans are infected through bites of nymphs. Only the eggs are innocent.

Since nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm), it is difficult to see them - both on dogs and on people. On people they are primarily hiding in the groin and armpits, and on the scalp (but not on mine because I am fairly bald, and ticks seem to be so smart that they 'sense' what gives them cover and what doesn't!). On dogs most ticks are found around the head (between the eyes, at the end of the nose, inside the ears) and at the neck (check under the collar!), however they may end up anywhere on the dog's body (particularly if the dog hosts many ticks). Note that in studies longer-haired dogs were more susceptible to ticks than short-haired dogs.

Nymphs feed primarily during the spring and summer months (now look and feel for tiny bumps on the skin; the lighted magnifying glass would certainly help) - while adult ticks (the hard ticks at least), are most active during the cooler months of the year (now look for 'larger' bumps on the skin).

Tick Diseases

Key tick diseases (diseases transmitted by ticks as vector for the respective bacterium or virus):

  • Lyme Disease: Bacterial infection, typically starts with flu-like symptoms and reddish "bulls-eye" rash, but can lead to encephalitis, arthritis, body pain, loss of motor skill and memory loss, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue if left untreated.
  • Spotted Fever: Bacterial infection, typically starts with non-itching rash of countless tiny red spots on hands and feet, but later more widespread, plus fever, headache, joint pain, muscle ache, nausea, and possibly abdominal pain and diarrhea; can lead to coma and death if untreated.
  • Tularemia: Bacterial infection, typically starts with fever, headache, chills, nausea, and dry cough; leading over to swollen lymph nodes and pneumonia; fatal if untreated.
  • Babesiosis: caused by a protozoan parasite, no typical symptoms except sometimes flu-like; but can lead to malaria-like disease with fever, chills, sweating, headache, muscle ache, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and prostration, and ultimately to anemia, jaundice, and blood in urine; however, is typically self-limiting.
  • Ehrlichiosis: Bacterial infection with flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, joint pain, and muscle ache).
  • Anaplasmosis: Bacterial infection similar but not identical to Ehrlichiosis; flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, joint pain, and muscle ache), can lead to death if untreated.
  • STARI: Bacterial infection with flu-like symptoms and reddish "bulls-eye" rash, similar but not identical to Lyme disease.
  • Tick Paralysis: caused by neurotoxins in tick saliva; starts with 'heavy legs' and muscle weakness, loss of coordination and sensation in the legs, continues through the entire body (trunk and back mucles failing), and then leads to death within just 24-48 hours due to paralysis of chest muscles and respiratory failure.

As you saw in the maps for your region above, three further non-key tick diseases are globally endemic: Bacillary angiomatosis, Bartonellosis, and Q-fever.

One newer tick disease leads to meat allergy! It's transmitted by a tick that is most endemic in south-east U.S.

Note that all the above tick diseases can affect both humans and canines (in their respective form)

If your dog or you have been 'bitten' by a tick, this does not mean your dog or you will fall ill: Even in the tick hot spots shown in the regional chapters above, the majority of ticks do not carry diseases, thus most tick bites do not cause serious health problems.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

HOWEVER: You cannot know at the time of the 'tick bite' to which group your tick belongs ("the harmless folks" or "the infectious folks"?). Hence it is crucial to remove every tick as soon as you find it! Early identification and the right treatment make most tick bites manageable without complications.

How to get rid of ticks

*** *** *** ***
To see more please Log In
Membership Options here
*** *** *** ***

 

==> Next edition: Worms in Dogs <==

Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?

USD  

  • 4.2K
  •  
Comment

 Comments via our New Facebook Page Managed by Krystal! - Thank you xx

Just Note:

1. To fight SPAM anything with a link lands in SPAM
2. To go live any bark must be relevant to this page
3. Be polite, introduce yourself with what you found, not with a help request

  4 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one

  1.  

    Wow! You put a lot of effort into preparing this article on ticks. Thank you for all this information, photos and especially the videos. I has been extremely enlightening.

    •  

      Thanks Penny. But really, it's not an article. One subsection is what you'd normally find as an article elsewhere, right? Only not with this kind of content.
      It's a Periodical, each one full of articles. Imagine that I had the design skill of Picasso, and everything was graphically pepped up like a print magazine, and you'd get our Periodicals in print. Then you'd never use the word article again, would you? Because it's full of articles, not one. :-)

      Did you not see the last one on Fleas? Better take a day off for that one ;-)

  2.  

    I think I will never eat a poppy seed roll again!
    Thanks, Tim, for another wonderful, fully researched periodical! I, for one, certainly appreciate the time and effort you put in for us and our dogs. We have so many deer here, that it is a must to use a tick repellant. They are in our backyards, on our lawns, everywhere! Fortunately for me I have not yet had to remove any ticks. I very carefully check my dogs whole body after every walk. I will say that I never knew the proper way to remove a tick. I have found ticks on a friends dog and just pulled them straight out with tweezers. I am getting some tick removal tools today, so thank you so much for that. Hopefully my good luck will continue and I won't need them, but it is good to be prepared.
    I had a problem with the videos on this periodical. They would not play. A message came up saying they were temporarily unavailable and to go back in a few minutes, but alas, when I went back, they still would not play. You are so good at describing things though, that I am sure I did not miss anything!
    Thanks again,
    Maureen

    •  

      Poppy seed roll, why not Maureen? You're joking I guess?
      The videos: Works fine here, was either a technical glitch for you or your device prevents playing them?

      Upon login, did you see "My New Puppy Diary", what do you think of it? Any improvement ideas?

Bark away ... just note:

1. To fight SPAM anything with a link lands in SPAM
2. To go live any bark must be relevant to this page
3. Be polite, introduce yourself with what you found, not with a help request

 Speak your heart out

Jonathan: "Thank you for your period advice. It is excellent! My GSD puppy is now 8 months and we read your advice regularly."
Dwayne: "I love this site and the info you post onto it. Thanks again!!!!"
Penny: "Thanks for making your great articles available to all of us. it's nice to know that a recommended product is actually available in my country."

Stay with us and your dog will stay with you, both of you healthy and well-behaved.
If you are ever unhappy with anything we write, do or don't do, we want to be the first to know, thanks.

Disclaimer: Always apply your own common sense when you follow anyone's suggestions. As much as your dog is special (s)he may react different too.

© MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - All content is protected. You must not copy or spin or otherwise change our content to republish it in your name, another one's name or without a name. If you wish to make use of our Intellectual Property Rights contact MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG. Thank you.

There's nothing quite like a healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd who freely guards every corner of your home, who brings you peace, who brings you joy!
Welcome to MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - we help you that YOUR DOG does not end up in a(nother) shelter!