Ticks are a danger to pets, domestic and wild animals, but also to humans. Generally mites can be dangerous because in some cases their bite can give very serious complications – anaphylactic shock or even paralysis. Everyone also knows that these parasites are carriers of infectious diseases and therefore the risk of infection may be higher or lower depending on the geographic location, but also the environmental factors that favour their breeding.
In most cases, the owner of a pet – such as a dog – may be surprised to notice that one or more ticks – these so small, yet so dangerous creatures – on the skin of the dog or even his clothes after a walk with the pet in the forest, in a park or an open space. There are many types of ticks and so they represent a real threat to the animal’s health, as they can cause allergies, bites and skin lesions; but the worst thing is that they can transmit infectious diseases.
If you see such a tick on your dog or cat’s skin, it should be removed carefully with tweezers. This is done slowly, carefully, without twisting it, by pulling firmly in the perpendicular direction on the skin, so as not to tear the head, but to remove the entire parasite and thus reduce the risk of infection. By twisting the tick’s head, it often breaks, so it remains trapped in the skin. You can use Vaseline or alcohol, as they weaken the tick’s attachment to the animal’s skin. After removing the tick, it is better for it to be killed by placing it in hot water. You may apply repellents – some special chemical agents for animals and pesticides are used in the environment for combating and preventing such situations. Doctors believe that by destroying the tick in the first two days, the risk of disease transmission can be reduced.
Ticks are parasites that can occur on animals, but also on birds. Their bite creates a discomfort to them and, most of the times, leads to a secondary infection. Ticks are of many types, so they belong to different families, namely: Ixotidae, Nuttalliellidae and Argasidae. Most of them are small, have the body soft in the interior and with an exterior covered by a quite resistant shell. This shell covers the entire back side of the male and only a third of the female’s back area. Ticks have four pairs of legs, the tick larvae have 6 legs and the nymphs have 8 legs.
The main species of ticks:
- Dermacentor variabilis are parasites of dogs, cats, horses, cattle, deer and other large mammals, but also attack humans. The tick larvae stay on mice and the nymphs are attracted by dogs, cats, rabbits and raccoons.
• Rhipicephalus sanguineus occur mainly on dogs. The nymphs and larvae attack dogs and rodents.
• Ixodes ticks parasitize the dogs, cats, cattle, deer and various wild animals. The larvae live on mice, birds, small mammals and lizards. The nymphs of these ticks live on cats, birds, raccoons, squirrels, mice and even humans.
• Amblyomma ticks can bite cats, dogs, wolves, deer, sheep, cattle and humans. The larvae and nymphs occur on hosts like: turkeys, cats, wolves, dogs, rabbits, foxes, quails, partridges, squirrels, humans.
In some regions, the number of ticks can be extremely high and this highly depends on the environmental conditions. The temperature is the main condition for their development, as it should be between 20-30 º C, while humidity should reach 50%. This shows that the number of ticks is higher in the spring and summer months.
Ticks are a danger to pets, as they directly affect their health. First they attack the animal through the bite or the sting on its skin. Then skin allergies or negative may occur due to the saliva. The most serious risk is however related to the possibility of transmitting an infectious disease which then can then be transmitted to other healthy animals. The ticks bite the animal’s skin and thus it becomes inflamed, the tissue is damaged, the place becomes painful and in many cases, there are secondary infections with various bacteria. Ticks feed with blood, which makes the animal soon suffer from anaemia. Both the larvae and nymphs can transmit infectious diseases, viral diseases, etc. Thus, the animal has a number of symptoms that show that its health is affected. It may have flu-like symptoms, fever, lethargy, pain in the area where it was bitten, lethargy, anaemia, red spots on the skin, weight loss, a greater sensitivity to sensorial stimuli, jaundice, depression, pale mucous membranes. In severe cases, paralysis and death can occur.