Two types of dog ticks are commonly found in the United States. These are the American dog tick and the brown dog tick. Their scientific names are Dermacentor variabilis and Rhipicephalus sanguineus, respectively. The brown dog tick does not pose a threat to humans, as it rarely feeds on them.
American dog ticks are reddish-brown. The female has a silver spot, while the male has silver lines on the body. They are found in grasslands and woods. Larvae and nymphs feed on mice, squirrels, and other small animals, while adults feed on cattle, deer, raccoons, dogs, and humans. Adults are active between April and June. These ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia to humans.
Brown dog ticks are unique in the sense that they can live and grow indoors. They are found in kennels or in homes where dogs stay and can cause canine babesiosis, canine ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. These ticks are also reddish-brown and their preferred host is a dog. To prevent brown dog tick bites, it is necessary to treat the dog, kennel, and home with tick-killing pesticide. Outdoor pesticide treatment is also crucial.
Dog ticks must be removed immediately if found attached to a host. Tweezers or commercial tick removal aids should be used for this purpose. Gloves must be worn during tick removal. Ticks should never be touched with bare hands because they can transmit infections. The correct method is to slowly pull the tick out from the point of attachment, ensuring that its mouth is not embedded in the skin of the host. The tick should not be crushed in the process. After removal, the bitten area and the tool used to remove the tick should be cleaned with antiseptic. Vaseline, alcohol, nail-polish, or glowing match should not be used for removing ticks.
To conclude, dog tick bites need to be prevented at all costs as they have the potential to infect people and animals with serious diseases. People living in tick-infested areas need to examine themselves and their pets regularly to rule out ticks.