Ticks transmit the widest variety of disease causing micro-organism of any blood sucking arthropod. They must be taken very seriously because they can transmit diseases that can threaten your life and your pet’s life. An important defense against ticks is Frontline.
Lyme disease, probably the best known tick disease, can be treated well with antibiotics if diagnosed. Symptoms in your dog will be lameness, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and enlarged lymph nodes. In people early symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic circular skin rash
The disease is named for the village of Lyme, Connecticut, where a number of cases were identified in 1975.
Babesiosis is a malaria-like parasitic disease. The symptoms are fever, loss of appetite and anemia. This is a serious disease that can result in coma and death.
Human babesiosis isn’t common, but there have been more reported cases recently. That’s probably because of expanded medical awareness. Sometimes called “The Malaria of The Northeast,” it’s more often found in the northern Midwestern and New England states.
Ehrlichiosis is a tick borne bacterial infection. Symptoms include fever, depression, lameness and loss of appetite. The most common human symptoms are headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. A rash occurs but that’s not usual.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever infects dogs and people. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, coughing, bruising, lameness, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. The disease begins with a sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. It can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and that’s bad because without prompt and proper treatment it can be fatal.
Tick Life Cycle
Ticks feed only on blood and depending upon type get only two or three meals in its life span. The most common tick is a three host tick and has a hard outer covering
A tick begins its life in the egg stage, usually in secluded areas of dense vegetation. The eggs take about two weeks to hatch. By the way, depending upon species, a tick can lay 100 to 6000 eggs at a time.
Upon hatching, a tick larva begins its search for its first blood meal. The lava has six legs. Any warm blooded animal, including your dog or you, is fair game for the larva. It will latch on, gorge itself on blood, and then drop back to the ground.
That first blood meal starts the larva toward the next stage of tick life. It molts into a nymph with eight legs and begins its search for another host. Nymphs are really difficult to detect and that increases the chance of its transmitting disease. They’re hardly larger than the period at the end of this sentence. The hungry nymph attaches itself to a host and gets the second blood meal of the tick life span, and then falls back to the ground
The nymph molts into an adult tick with eight legs. The adult tick searches for its host by crawling to the tip of a blade of grass. There it hangs on to the blade with its rear six legs, keeping the two front legs free to grab onto a passing host.
The adult ticks get their third and final blood meal, pair off for mating and then fall back to the ground. The male dies soon. However, the female lives through the winter and lays her eggs in the spring, completing the cycle. If the adult ticks can’t find a host in the fall they’ll live in the leaf litter until spring and then feed, mate, and produce eggs.