Ticks are usually not found indoors, but instead in outdoor settings like backyards, trails, and wooded areas. Ticks are active throughout the year; but are most active in the warm months from March-May. American Dog Ticks, among other types of ticks found on dogs, are a concern for both humans and pets. Know what to look for and be aware of the signs.
What We Know About American Dog Ticks
Male Ticks usually die once they mate with a female; but female American Dog Ticks lives in grassy areas with little tree coverage. They can live up to two years if a host is not located. As with other types of ticks, they do not fly or jump, but instead crawl from the ground up. They feed on a variety of warm-blooded hosts including deer and humans and even domestic dogs. They are predominately brown in color with white "veins" on their back (shield).
Adult American dog ticks commonly feed on humans; but they do not transmit Lyme Disease; however, they can transmit other pathogens including the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia - similar to Lone Star Ticks. Adult male and female dog ticks are active from April-early August and can be found in grassland, bushes or under leaves.
Tick on Your Dog?
There is the possibility that your dog was bitten by a dog tick if your active dog becomes lethargic or unable to eat or sleep. (This is why we ask pet owners to do a thorough tick-check on pets after outdoor activity.) Symptoms usually begin to appear around 6-9 days after a tick latches on to a dog.
If your dog is doing the following, be on the look-out for ticks:
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart rate and rhythm (tachyarrhythmias)
- Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
- Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
- Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
- Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Difficulty in eating
- Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
- Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals
- Excessive drooling (sialosis)
- Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus)
- Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye (mydriasis
While ticks on dogs are more common than on cats, felines can get Lyme Disease. Take cats to the vet immediately after a tick bite; and watch for the following Lyme Disease symptoms in cats:
Lack of appetite
stiff walk and arched back
Sensitivity to touch
If you think your dog was bit, and your dog is experiencing these tick-illness symptoms, and remove the tick immediately with a tick removal tool.
Be sure to reach for the head and not the body, as the head may remain stuck in the skin. (Do not burn the area!) Once the task is complete, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and take the tick to the vet for identification.
Dog Tick Treatment After Diagnosis
Spot-on treatments are available to prevent and kill dog ticks including medicated dog shampoos, tick collars and tick dips.
Talk to your vet about these types of dog tick prevention tools.