There are four types of ticks in our area:
American Dog TickThe most common tick found in the United States. The dog is the preferred host although it readily feeds on many large mammals. There are pale whitish or yellowish markings on the back of the tick. Males may only be 1/8 of an inch long while engorged females may be as much as 1/2 inch in length.
Brown Dog TickReddish-brown in color. This species is one of the most common in homes, where it feeds on dogs, then drops on the animal.
Lone Star TickReddish-brown in color and feeds on a wide variety of mammals. The adult females have a distinct white spot on their back and males have white markings around the outside of their back.
Deer TickCommon hosts include deer, livestock and dogs. The males and females are dark browns in color.
Tick Life Cycle
- Egg Stage
Ticks lay eggs in secluded areas of dense vegetation that are several inches high. The eggs take about two weeks to hatch. Adult females of some tick species lay about 100 eggs at a time; others lay 3000 to 6000 eggs per batch.
- Larval Stage
After hatching, the larvae move into grass or shrubs in search of their first blood meal. If you or your pet passes by, they attach themselves and crawl upward in pursuit of an area on the skin to feed.
- Nymph Stage
After this first blood meal, larvae molt into their nymph stage and begin searching for their next host. Nymphs are the size of a freckle and often go undetected, increasing the chance for disease transmission.
- Adult Stage
The adult female feeds for 8 - 12 days, possibly increasing its weight 100 times while feeding. While still on the host the female will mate, fall off and lay her egg mass in a secluded place- beginning the life cycle again.
Tick bites can affect your pet's health in the following ways:
- Lyme Disease
Transmitted by the deer and lone star ticks. Symptoms include lameness, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and abnormal enlargement of the lymph nodes, often treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.
Transmitted by the brown dog and lone star ticks. It attacks your pet's white blood cells, crippling the immune system. Symptoms include fever, depression, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Treatable with antibiotics.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Transmitted by the American dog and lone star ticks. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, coughing, lameness, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. If untreated it can result in acute symptoms or even death.