June 29, 2015

(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan from Doc Talk. Thanks for joining me today. We’re gonna talk about something that everybody has to deal with in the summer and that’s ticks. Whether it’s on our dog, or on our kids or on ourselves. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.

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(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here. We’re gonna talk about ticks. And it’s not something I’m an expert in, but it’s something that I have a lot of experience in because I find a lot of them. But when we start to talk about ticks, if you’ve gone out and you’ve walked through the woods, or you’ve gone out to do chores, or you’ve had the cow dog out running in the pasture and you come in, or maybe it’s your dog just running in your back yard, you come in, scratch the old puppy by the ear, lean down and sure enough, we’ve found a tick. Now, there are many different types of ticks. But the three that we’re gonna talk about today are the American Dog tick, the Brown Dog tick and we’re gonna talk about the Deer tick, because these are the ones that are most common. And these are the ones that are causing the most problems as far as the health of our dogs and of human beings. But the first thing we need to understand about ticks is that they have a life cycle. So, the tick life cycle, something that people don’t normally understand. They think that well, a tick just pops up and it grabs ahold of me and it gets big and drops off. But really these ticks have a life cycle and they are what we call a three host life cycle. What that means is that the eggs from the tick are laid in the grass and it takes about 30 to 35 days for those eggs to hatch. Once those eggs hatch, they go through different stages where they molt from larvae to nymph to adult. And in between those stages, the tick has to attach to a host. So, the tick eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae then quest. And questing means to hang upside down from a tree branch and when the dog or you walk by they drop off and grab ahold. Or they may be hanging upside down from a piece of grass. And as you brush across it, they will grab ahold. Ticks can move up to 20 meters. And they will use odor and different things to move towards you and find you or find your pet. So, the life cycle-the eggs are hatched 30 days after they’ve been laid. We have larvae which then quest to find the first host, which is generally a rodent or something to that nature. They will grab ahold of that host, they will engorge and they will molt. And they will molt from the larvae stage to the nymph stage and they will drop off of that host and go back and quest again. When they grab that second host and they engorge for 10-13 days, they are then molting from the nymph stage to the adult stage. They’ll then drop off of that intermediate host and they’ll look for the final host, which generally if it’s the American Dog tick or the Brown Dog tick, it’s looking for a dog. OK? But these will also attach, these Dermacentor will also attach to humans and the Deer tick will also find the final species that it’s looking for whether it’s a Deer tick or a human to raccoons or cattle or anything to that nature, grab ahold of and then they engorge. Now when the big female engorge on blood, they get full of eggs. They will then drop off, lay their eggs and die. So, the big brown ticks, the big round ones, are the ones that are full of eggs. They’re gonna drop off and they’re gonna die. And so there’s the life style of the ticks. More to come after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here and we’re talking about ticks. And the main thing when we left, talking about ticks, we were talking about the life cycle of the ticks and understanding that they go through molting from when they hatch from an egg and they’re larvae to attaching to a host, drop off that host as a nymph, grab ahold of another host, molt again, drop off that host as an adult and then they look for their final host in which they’re going to engorge. They’ll drop off, lay eggs and continue the life cycle of a three host tick. And I think people don’t understand that it doesn’t just grab ahold of one person or one animal and end its life. So, there are three main types of ticks that we’re talking about. We’re talking about the American Dog tick, the Brown Dog tick and the Deer tick. And all three of them have different characteristics and live in different habitats. The first thing is identification of them. And when you look at ’em, the smallest of the three species is gonna be the Deer tick. OK? The American Dog tick is the one that we most commonly find in woods and on vacations and the one that’s a little bit larger, it’s ornate, it has a flower pattern as you can see here is a picture of male and female American Dog ticks. And then the Brown Dog tick is a little bit of a, not as patterned, more of a flatter view than what we see with the American Dog tick. And you can see here the picture of the female and male Brown Dog ticks. And then finally the smaller one, the Deer tick that you can see here that is one that is most famous for causing Lyme Disease in humans. So, when we look at the difference in these three and see the pictures of the difference in these three. The other thing that differentiates these tick species is where they live. And when we’re thinking about the American Dog tick or Dermacentor, that tick is going to live in grass areas, young forests, down around water areas, water gaps and things to that nature. And the Brown Dog tick is the tick that is going to live…now let me back up. One species of the American Dog tick, actually lives more in elevated areas in the Rocky Mountains. And that’s the Dermacentor Tick that will cause the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When we think about the Rhipicephalus, or the Brown Dog tick, this one is not able to over winter. It likes to live in kennels. It likes to live in areas of buildings, places where it will lay its eggs, it doesn’t necessarily have to lay its eggs in grass. It can lay its eggs on the premise and they can survive there. So, the Brown Dog tick, we’re gonna be looking more around old buildings, we’re gonna be looking around places where they can over winter, where they can get away from the cold, harsh temperatures and might be more in proximity of your house or of your dog kennel or your barn. The Deer tick is one that like to live in deciduous forests, or like to live where there’s areas of timber. So, it’s going ot be looking for those maple and oak trees and living in more of the mature forest areas. So, we’ve taken a look at what they look like. And we’ve taken a look at the habitat in which they live, in. When we come back we’ll talk a little bit about some of the diseases that they can cause.

(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here and today we’re talking about ticks. And it’s something that we all have…had visited routinely when we spend time in the outdoors. Whether we’re talking about ticks on ourselves, ticks on dogs, ticks on our cattle, ticks on about anything. And you know you always want to get the tick and you want to make sure that you remove it properly. But there’s some reasons why we don’t want to have ticks get on us or get on our pets and that’s because they can be transmitters or vectors for different types of disease, blood borne pathogens. And when we talk about Dermacentor, or the American Dog tick or the American Wood tick, it can carry a bacteria that’s a rickettsial agent that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is a pathogen that causes illness in humans. And so when we get bit by these ticks that carry the bacteria for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever we can wind up with a low grade fever, two to ten days post tick bite. And it gets a low grade fever, you get nausea, you get tired and then about two to four days after you have that fever start, you’ll come out in a rash. And it’s one of those things that when treated early enough, it can be treated very effectively by antibiotics from your doctor. But if you start to see those signs in yourself after a tick bite, make sure you get to your doctor and have that checked out. When we talk about the common or the Brown Dog tick. And the Brown Dog tick again, it is an inhabitant of buildings. It’s the only tick that’s an inhabitant of buildings. And this tick will be in the kennels, it will be in our out buildings and it over winters in those types because it can’t face the harsh winters in the outdoors to survive. Now, this tick is the one that carries what we call ehrlichia canis. And ehrlichia canis is one that causes a blood borne disease in dogs, hence the name canis, and what it does is it starts to break down the white blood cells, it will start to break down some of the platelets, giving that dog a low blood count or a low packed cell volume. And have an inability or a hard time of moving oxygen in the body with some of these different problems. So, when we have problems with the ehrlichia, the dog will run a fever. It will be very lethargic. It won’t want to get up. It won’t be itself, but it’s easily tested in your veterinary clinic. Make sure you work with your veterinarian. Have this in your annual well check. Get an ehrlichia test on your dog. Easily treated. Easily prevented. The last species that we talked about was the common deer tick. And again this is the smallest tick that’s out there. And this one is gonna be in the woods. And it’s more of a east of the Mississippi issue in our big deciduous forests. But it’s creeping west and we see it more and more. This is the tick that carries the borrelia species of bacteria. These are bacteria, or the species that causes Lyme disease. And Lyme disease is something that is commonly described as getting that bulls eye type lesion, where it’s red and from that tick bite. And if you start to see that bull’s eye type lesion, you start to feel achy, start to feel sick, fever, make sure you get to a doctor. But understanding that these three ticks that we talked about today, three different species, three different environments, different types of diseases. More on ticks and the wrap up after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from the Veterinary College at Kansas State University and you’re watching Doc Talk. And you know we really enjoy you all watching the show and spending time with us. You have a lot of options on things that you can watch and we’re glad that you choose to spend some time with us. And the other thing I really enjoy is when I’m out and about in the country and out and about doing meetings across the United States or around the globe, somebody will come up and say, hey I saw you on Doc Talk. And don’t ever hesitate to come up and say hello and introduce yourself. I love to meet the people that are watching it. Thanks a million for watching the show. But let’s get back to ticks. One of the things about ticks that we’ve discussed and as we left you know Lyme Disease is not just something that humans can get. Dogs can also get Lyme Disease, so if your dog is… anytime that your dog is exhibiting what we call ADR – ain’t doin’ right – OK? Whenever your dog is lethargic or if they start to decrease their eating or they have change in their feeding patterns, those are times when you want to start to work with your veterinarian. And start to make sure…and tell your veterinarian about the clinical signs or if you’ve picked ticks off your dog, or if you’ve just been camping or the dog has been in an environment, something to visit with. And whenever you’re talking about Lyme Disease or Ehrlichia canis in your pet, the one thing you want to make sure is that you’re working with your veterinarian on a couple of different areas. One, is you want to make sure you go in for the animal’s annual well check. OK? And so when you’re going in there for our vaccinations and things to that nature, you want to talk to your veterinarian about ticks. You want to talk to your veterinarian about Ehrlichiosis and about things to that nature. If you’re in an area where there’s alot of Brown ticks, or if you’re in an area where there’s a lot of Deer ticks you may talk to your veterinarian about the opportunity to have testing done to make sure that your dog has not been affected. Or is not currently affected and having sub acute clinical disease that’s caused by these ticks that we see in these problems. If you have an acute problem, of course get your dog in and get it looked at right away. Now, the next thing that you want to talk to your veterinarian about, is working up a plan to prevent ticks in two different ways. And the first one is is decreasing the habitat in which your dog is exposed to. Now, if you have a house dog and you’re looking at decreasing it in your yard, you want to make sure that you’re mowing the grass, that you’re pruning trees, increase sunlight in your yard, all of those types of things can help decrease tick populations out and around your house There are many different products out there that are available whether it’s through collars or through pour-ons that working with your local veterinarian will help you find the proper tick control, understand the tick species, understand the…you know we can’t keep all the ticks from getting on your dog or cat. We can’t keep those types of things from happening, but maybe we can reduce the number of ticks that get on our dogs, cats, kids and ourselves. Thanks for watching Doc Talk. Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed our discussion on ticks. It’s been enjoyable to me. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. If you want to know more about what I do here at Doc Talk, you can find me on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Thanks for joining us today. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

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