Scientists Say A Vacuum Is Your Best Weapon In Fight Against Brown Dog Ticks
As ticks become more resilient to pesticides, scientists are getting closer in their quest to alleviate these pests. For now, use your Hoover to keep them out of your home and off your dog.
While it’s called the Brown Dog Tick, don’t let its name fool you; it affects more than just brown dogs and it can be darned hard to get rid of once its settled in to your home. Even the pesticide industry has been struggling to find a solution to this little critter that has proven resistant to the more common chemicals we apply between our pooch’s shoulder blades as well as home fumigation attempts by owners.
Typically the tick is introduced to its new living quarters by a dog that has been cared for outside of his home or at a kennel. In the early stages they are few and far between, often being missed entirely by pet parents. But left unchecked over time they can literally be climbing the walls before the home owner realizes what’s happening.
In addition to the “gross” sensation of having bugs in your house, the blood-sucking tick can damage or irritate a dog’s skin and in some cases can cause a fever, anorexia or anemia – all symptoms that mean Rover needs to get in to see the vet ASAP!
This particularly icky tick is also a homebody and while most tend to live and breed in the great outdoors, this little guy completes its lifecycle in the comfort of your home. With females laying up to 5,000 eggs in her lifetime, this adds up to big trouble if you don’t get a handle on it quickly.
Coming to the rescue of both owners and dogs is the University of Florida (a state where Brown Dog Ticks are rampant) and UF/IFAS associate professor of veterinary entomology, Phil Kaufman. His studies have revealed this tick is considered to be “cryptobiotic,” meaning it loves to hide in nooks and crannies where you’ll never find him. It also spends close to 95 percent of its time away from your pooch, so simply grooming Rover won’t solve the problem – it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Where to begin? Your good buddy needs to be treated with products such as fipronil (in sprays and spot-ons), amitraz (often in flea and tick collars), permethrin (sprays and shampoos) and deltamethrin (shampoos). Regular treatment will also minimize his chances of becoming infected by this and other species of ticks such as the American dog tick or the blacklegged tick.
Your vet can advise you on the right tick control product for your pooch and as a good pet parent you should be examining him regularly and removing and disposing of any bugs or ticks you find. If you have other animals in the house, they should be check out regularly as well but be careful because not all treatments designed for dogs are also cool for cats. Some can be poisonous. And until a sure-fire battle plan is found, you can still use pesticides to control the ticks, but “the vacuum is your best friend,” says Faith Oi, a scientist at UF/IFAS Extension.
So how do you tackle the infestation in your house? Think spring cleaning on a year-round basis. Yes, you need to de-clutter to eliminate potential hiding places and then you need to bring in the pros for pesticide applications and follow up to evaluate effectiveness.
[Source: Science Daily]