Spring Pests and Parasites by Taylor Kenney
Depending on where you live in the world there is an extensive list of pests and parasites attacking and feeding on your dog. These pests and parasites are passing on a variety of diseases and viruses…or at the very least: itch, rash, swelling, allergic reactions or possible behavioural issues created from discomfort.
In Canada alone dogs are being attacked by: Horseflies, Deerflies and blackflies, 2 Types of Lice, 16 species of Mites, 67 Different species of Mosquitos, 125 different species of fleas, lungworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, Flatworms, Fluke worms, Pinworms, Intestinal Worms, and Nematodes, and about 1400 species of spiders, including 2 species of tarantulas and 2 species of black widows. Included in that long list of spiders is 40 different species of Ticks.
Yes Ticks are Spiders!
Most ticks are what we call three host ticks, that is, during their life cycle which takes two years, they feed on three different hosts. All ticks develop through four stages: Egg, Larvae, Nymph, and Adult
Adult female deer ticks lay about 3000 Eggs on the ground in spring.
In the summer eggs hatch into Larvae, which are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
The Larvae feeds on its first host for a few days then it molts into a Nymph. The first host is typically a rodent and it is at this stage where the Deer tick can contract B.burgdorferi bacterium (Lyme disease), if the host was a carrier.
Nymphs are dormant throughout the winter as long as the temperature remains below 4 °C/45°F and wake to feed again in the spring. This time the Tick may feed on a larger host like a dog or another rodent giving it another chance to catch or pass on B.burgdorferi. It then molts again and becomes an adult.
Throughout the fall, both adult male and female ticks now find their third host, and feed on blood and mate. They can pass on the Lyme disease at this feeding stage. A Tick must remain feeding on a host for at least 24 hours in order to pass on B.burgdorferi, so finding and removing Ticks as quickly as possible is of great importance. After mating the male dies and the female lives through the winter and lays eggs in the spring, completing the life cycle.
Suspecting your Dog has Lyme
Dogs show several different forms of the disease, but by far, the most common symptoms are a fever of between 103 and 105°, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In rare case, dogs have developed severe and progressive kidney disease as result of having Lyme disease. It can cause glomerulonephritis – inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney's glomeruli. The glomeruli are the body’s blood filter. Eventually, kidney failure may set in as the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid buildups.
It is important to note that Lyme disease is only one of many diseases that Ticks carry and that Ticks are only one of many parasites which are attacking, feeding and passing on viruses, diseases and other parasites to your pets.
You can check out our quick, easy and natural, Total Tick Kits.