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Like the alluvial forest tick, the brown dog tick is one of the winners of climate change. Because she likes it warm. It can also be found more and more frequently.

What is a brown dog tick?

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The scientific name of the brown dog tick is Rhipicephalus sanguineus. It belongs to the genus of arachnids and the family of ticks. The blood-sucking parasite has spread from North Africa to Europe and USA. But in the USA, too, more and more dog owners are pulling the parasite out of the dog’s fur. Mostly it gets to the USA as a stowaway while traveling. Unfortunately, the brown dog tick can transmit many diseases that are dangerous to dogs.

Why does the brown dog tick attack dogs?

Like the common wood tick, the most common tick in the USA, the brown dog tick needs blood to reproduce. The favorite host of this parasite is the dog. In the earlier stages of development, larva, and nymph, also need a meal of blood in order to develop further. Larvae suck blood for around five to 15 days before falling off and turning into a nymph after around 2 weeks. The process is similar to the nymph. When a female tick has had its last meal of blood, it will drop and lay thousands of eggs. If no dogs are available, the dog tick will also sting cats – and people. More on that later.

How do I recognize a brown dog tick?

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The brown dog tick measures around 3 mm when hungry and are up to four times as large when it is saturated. It looks similar to the common wooden trestle, but is brown, the common wooden trestle is reddish-brown. Males of the common wood tick have a white border on the back shield and are so easy to distinguish from the brown dog tick. Experts assume that the brown dog tick in the USA cannot overwinter and reproduce outdoors. It is therefore unlikely that the dog will catch you while walking in the forest.

The brown dog tick and its distribution

The brown dog tick cannot survive the winter north of the Alps. But there is another problem that makes them a great danger: unlike domestic ticks, they can multiply in the home. Because, unlike her relatives, it doesn’t mind the dry air in the apartment. Like fleas, the females lay eggs in cracks in the floor, skirting boards, or other dark corners. With around 4,000 eggs per female tick, this can quickly become a nuisance. The brown tick usually comes to Europe during a vacation in southern Europe. The tick can also multiply in animal shelters or dog boarding houses.

How dangerous is the brown dog tick for dogs?

The brown dog tick can transmit several diseases that are dangerous to the dog. These include:

  • Babesiosis, also known as dog malaria;
  • the “Mediterranean disease” with bleeding, diarrhea, and fever, and itching;
  • Ehrlichiosis, which is especially – but not exclusively – dangerous for puppies.

All of these diseases can only be treated with great effort and sometimes not at all. If you find a brown dog tick on your dog, you should therefore contact your veterinarian. Symptoms after a brown tick bite can range from apathy to fever to bleeding, but can also occur weeks after the bite.

Is the brown dog tick dangerous to humans?

As the name suggests, the brown dog tick does not find people very appetizing. But: If in doubt or if there is a large tick population in an apartment, it will also sting bipeds. In rare cases, it can transmit diseases. This includes the Mediterranean spotted fever. The first sign of this is a black discoloration at the injection site, accompanied by a headache and fever. D.

The brown dog tick can transmit bacteria that cause cat scratch disease or five-day fever. The latter can lead to inflammation of the heart muscle. If you think you have been stung by a brown dog tick, keep the tick and contact your family doctor and/or the specialists at the University of Hohenheim.

Remove brown dog ticks

If you see a brown dog tick on your dog, you should remove it as soon as possible. Because the longer the tick sucks, the greater the risk that it will transmit diseases. Use tools such as tick tweezers for dogs or tweezers. Do not use oil, glue, or other substances to “suffocate” the tick. Because the brown dog tick gets into death throes, it could vomit and transmit pathogens in the process.

Once you have removed a brown dog tick, you can support research into the unwanted parasites. Send the tick yourself or an email with a good photo to the Parasitology team at the University of Hohenheim.

How to protect your dog from the brown dog tick

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If you are on holiday with your dog in Mediterranean areas, you should speak to the veterinarian beforehand. He can recommend suitable tick prophylaxis, for example, a spot-on preparation. When vacationing in areas where the brown dog tick occurs year-round, home remedies are not an alternative. Because if, for example, coconut oil works on your dog against the tick, that doesn’t mean that it will keep the dog tick away. The risk of diseases that the dog suffers from a tick bite is too great. Thoroughly scan dogs that come to you from these areas for ticks. If the brown dog tick has multiplied in your home, it is often necessary to call in a professional pest controller.

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