Deer Ticks vs Dog Ticks
Ticks are one of the most troublesome parasites, and they can cause a host of health problems for you and your pets. While there are many varieties of ticks, the most notorious ones are the deer tick and the American dog tick.
These ticks have similar life-cycles, but each has unique characteristics and pathogens. They also tend to inhabit different geographic regions. Read on to learn the differences between deer ticks and dog ticks, as well as the different diseases they commonly carry. Either way, you should consider tick control services if you see any on your property.
The American dog tick, or Dermacentor variabilis, derives its name from the fact that adult ticks love feeding on domestic dogs. Also known as the wood tick, this species of tick is oval and flattened in shape.
The dog tick is brown with white to grey markings. In the larvae stage, dog ticks have six legs. They have eight legs in the nymph and adult stage. With these extremities, they can effectively crawl in their habitat, as well as on human hair and animal fur.
Adult female dog ticks are about 0.25 inches long. However, males are usually quite smaller. Female dog ticks have an intricate hexagonal dark spot above their head. While male dog ticks attach themselves to the host, they don’t become engorged like their female counterparts.
This tick species often inhabits areas with zero or little tree cover, such as scrubland and grassy fields. They also love trails and walkways. They feed on a wide range of hosts, including mice and dear. They can stay alive for up to two years at any given stage without a host.
Bites from dog ticks may lead to severe reactions. These ticks transmit diseases such as tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever when they suck blood from the host. It usually takes several days for the host to experience symptoms.
Deer ticks, or Ixodes pacificus, derive their name from the fact that they love feeding on white-tailed deer and other Western deer species. Also known as Western black-legged ticks, they can also feed on domestic animals and humans.
Adult deer ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, and hence usually difficult to see. Female deer ticks are brown to reddish-orange. They also have a black or dark brown spot behind their head.
Male dear ticks are normally dark brown, but they don’t have the reddish marks. They’re also significantly smaller than their female counterparts. This tick species is common in the western states of California, Washington, Oregon, and eastward into Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.
They often inhabit shaded and bushy areas, which are frequented by their warm-blooded hosts, including dogs, cats, and other mammals. Deer ticks are the main vectors of Lyme disease, a horrible disease that can cause serious health complications.
The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include a bulls-eye rash on the skin and flu-like symptoms like fever and aches. If you experience these symptoms after spending time in areas where ticks are prevalent, you should see a medical professional to get tested for Lyme disease.