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What is a Brown Dog Tick? Why You Should Be Worried

August 30th, 2017 - Category: Health and Environment, Must Read, The Bug Blog

brown dog tick arizona

North America is home to many insect varieties that feed on the blood of larger animals, including mosquitoes and bed bugs. One of the most dangerous parasites threatening the health of your family and pets is the brown dog tick (rhipicephalus sanguineus). As the only species of tick that infests both dog kennels and human homes, this cold-adverse bloodsucker is an equal opportunity feeder that presents a special health risk to residents of sunny Arizona.

An Opportunistic Parasite

Also known as the “kennel tick,” this species originated in warm, subtropical climates but has hitchhiked throughout the American southwest, joining traveling pets and finding hospitable environments in homes, garages, carpets, and dog houses. You will most often find them crawling up walls and trying to find refuge near heat sources. In Arizona, they can be found outdoors but the cold nights tend to drive them indoors. They are one of the few species of tick that has adapted to indoor living.

A Health Danger to Family and Pets

It is these qualities that make the Brown Dog Tick dangerous because as they have adapted to feed on pets and humans alike they can be a disease vector for Zoonotic diseases, both human-to-animal and animal-to-human variety. One such disease is the Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), which is potentially deadly if left untreated. This tick also is quite prolific and can breed quickly to create large infestations in homes. This unwelcome proximity and ability to thrive in a home are cause for concern, because while single bites are rarely a great danger, long-term feeding or multiple bites can considerably increase the danger of disease transmission or infection.

How To Find And Identify A Brown Dog Tick

Adult male brown dog ticks are flat and uniformly red-brown, evolved to blend with hair and fur. They are also notable for tiny indentations in their outer shell. Females resemble the males until they feed, after which they swell to as much as a half-inch long and a quarter-inch in width. After feeding, they also change color as a result of being engorged with blood, often turning dark blue or a greenish color. When given a choice of host, the tick always prefers canines but they may choose cats or even pet owners. They are often found on areas of your dog where the animal will have difficulty biting or dislodging them. such as behind the ears or in the neck area.

You Don’t Have To Live With These Uninvited Guests

If you discover the presence of brown dog ticks in your home, don’t panic. You don’t have to cohabitate with these little vampires. If a tick is discovered feeding on your family members or pets, take care in removing them and seek medical treatment or veterinary care for the bite to prevent infection. Your physician will have more information on symptoms to look for after suffering a bite and treatment for potential infection.

If there is any indication that there is a brown dog tick infestation in your home, such as unexplained bites or the shells they leave behind when molting, you should contact the pest control experts at University Termite and Pest Control. We can serve an eviction notice to these unwelcome guests and make your home safer for your family and pets.

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