Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dog Ticks Resist Eradication

Dog ticks, or more specifically brown dog ticks, start off as tiny little parasites looking for a blood meal. When first born, they are small and difficult to see. Through their life, they moult several times and finally, at maturity, become the large, ugly creatures most of us recognize. They are considered to be the most common tick found throughout the world.

A female dog tick feeds only once. Her body engorges to many times its original size. At that time, a smaller male tick attaches next to her for breeding. The female will then drop to the ground and lay her eggs. She can easily produce 10,000 eggs at a time.

These newborn ticks, or larvae, are sometimes called seed ticks because of their tiny size. They are attracted to light, which makes them climb up any structure they find. They wait on their lofty perch, sometimes a blade of grass or a tree branch, for the scent of carbon dioxide. This gas is released in every breath a dog (or human) takes. When they smell the gas, they let go and drop onto the dog that is passing below them.

Once on the dog's body, they crawl to the neck, back, ears or between the toes and attach to the dog's skin. They feed on blood for 2-4 days then drop off the dog to moult into a nymph phase. This second stage tick must also obtain a blood meal from a dog before dropping off again to shed into an adult tick.

Because it is quite a challenge for such a tiny creature to get onto a quickly moving target like a dog, ticks have amazing survival rates. A dog tick larva can survive up to 6 months without feeding. An adult can survive for 19 months. This explains why, in houses that haven't been lived in for a long time, live ticks can still be picked up in the backyard.

Brown dog ticks cause discomfort, especially when in large numbers. They can be found in many bushland areas and where other dogs have been located. Because of the large number of eggs a single female tick can produce, it is easy to see that they can be difficult to eliminate once they make it into an environment. Lengthy survival rates combined with difficulty in finding and killing the ticks make them a challenge and a nuisance for many dog owners.

Control of these insects requires treatment of both the dog and environment. Many different chemicals are available but caution must be taken not to overdose the dog with toxic products. A careful, comprehensive program of eradication and vigilance will eventually get rid of the problem.

Protect your dog! Find out more about ticks on dogs and lyme disease in dogs by visiting my site.

Yellow Puppies Blogger Template | Template Design | Elque 2008

Team Blogs