If you live anywhere that has trees, grass or shrubs you are no stranger to ticks. As well as the majority of us are no strangers to ticks we are also no stranger to the terrifying stories and or facts that have come along with knowing about ticks.
With there being over 800 species of ticks around the world and with 90 of them being found in the United States (Hill) it is good to understand a little bit about them, not only for dogs sake but also for our own.
Where Do Ticks Thrive?
Ticks can pretty much thrive in any outdoor area. However, much of the time you will find them in areas with tall grass, trees and shrubs (i.e. walking trails and in the woods.) Most commonly ticks enjoy being in areas with a bit more moisture. This includes areas with higher humidity and or areas that have been getting more rainfall than they they normally would like many have experienced this year. Thus, causing a better living environment for the ticks and making a big problem for us and our four-legged friends.
What kind of Ticks Are There?
As mentioned before there are several types of ticks. However, the most common ones that people see and are failure with are Black legged Tick (a.k.a Deer Tick), American Dog Tick, Lone Star Tick and Brown Dog Tick.
The Black legged tick typically live around two years and are most commonly seen in deciduous wooded areas. This species relies mostly on white tail deer as their host for reproduction.
You will find the American Dog Tick mostly close to walkways and or trails as they prefer to live in less wooded areas and gravitate to the grassier areas. These ticks can also live up to two years and find host of all sizes.
The Lone Star Tick thrive in heavily wooded areas with low foliage growth and areas where animals like to bed down. This tick is by far the one that I see the most around my home as I am surrounded by woods.
The Brown Dog Tick although is found primarily in the southern most parts of the U.S. it can really be found anywhere.
What Kind of Diseases Do Ticks Spread?
Many ticks can carry more than one kind of disease. So, what should we be aware of? We will stick with just the most common ticks seen above for the sake of time. The Deer Tick can carry Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. The American Dog Tick can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. The Lone Star Tick can carry Monocytic Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever whereas the Brown Dog Tick can carry Rock Mountain Spotted fever rickettsia (which is mostly in dogs), canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis.
So, what are these diseases, and do they affect human and dogs? For an easy reference I have made a table that provides helpful information.
Tips for Prevention!
Some helpful tips provided by the CDC in prevention of ticks and their diseases are
1) know where to expect the ticks.
2) Use EPA registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, paramenthane-diol or 2-undecanone.
3) Once you come inside check your clothing and animals for ticks and
4) showering (CDC Features).
Although many may find this helpful when it comes to some of the prevention task like the using the repellent with DEET many would say no way, hasn’t DEET been known to cause cancer among other crazy things? Well according to the CDC DEET in rare cases may cause skin rashes, blisters and skin mucous membrane irritation (CDC). As well as stated by the Oregon State University that the EPA classified it as “not classifiable as a human carcinogen”, which means there is not enough evidence to say that it does or does not cause cancer (Oregon). Personally, for me that is enough not to use bug spray with DEET on the regular. If I have no other option available, I would probably use it but if I can prevent it I would defiantly do so. However, if you refer to the list of ingredients that you may want to have in your repellent you will notice that the CDC also mentioned oil of lemon eucalyptus. They do mention that the oil should be EPA registered to assure that it is proven safe and effective (CDC).
Now lets talk about the prevention of ticks in our four legged family members. Everyone knows about the well-known flea and tick medications that almost 88% of dogs are getting the repeated doses of (Lavan). However, as I have posted on my Facebook page @Our Praising Paws LLC you will find a video of a dog who was given a flea and tick medication and the owner that was not told the side effects that can occur from this and the dog now has daily seizures. There are natural preventatives that you can give your dog to help prevent against ticks. Like all-natural flea and tick collars, drops as well as mist that you can spray your dog with before each outing. Although these can not be claimed as an end all be all it is most definitely a positive option.
How you will prevent from ticks is up to you and because the idea of prevention against them can be a bit overwhelming I have provided some of the products that I use on my pets to help fight against those nasty little bitters. I want to be clear that I do not get any kick backs from any of these products that you buy, I personally trust the company and the doctor behind it.
I truly hope that you have found this information interesting and helpful in understanding ticks better and how to prevent against them. So, until next time keep those ticks at bay and keep your fury family members safe.
CDC. Fight the Bite for Protection from Malaria Guidelines for DEET Insect Repellent Use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web pdf. 19, June. 2019. https://www.cdc.gov>malaria>toolkit
CDC. West Nile virus: Prevention. Last reviewed: December 10, 2018. Web 19, June. 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html
“CDC Features.” Stop Ticks to Avoid Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed: May 14,2019. Web 19, June. 2019.
Hill, C. & MacDonald, J. “Insects and Ticks> Ticks”. Purdue University Medical Entomology. Purdue University, 2008. Web 19 June 2019 https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/tick.html
Jackson, D.; Luukinen, B.; Buhl, K.; Stone, D. 2008. DEET General Fact Sheet; National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension Services. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/DEETgen.html.
Lavan, Robert. “Results from a U.S. Dog Owner Survey on the Treatment Satisfaction and Prevention for Fluralaner against Flea and Tick Infections.” Journal of Veterinary: Science & Technology. 8.3 (2017): 2. Web. 19 June, 2019