The dog tick originates from Africa, but is now very common in the tropics and sub tropics, such as in the Mediterranean. The species is also very common in the United States of America (brown dog tick). In our country they were imported in the sixties with dogs. This tick species clearly prefers dogs and is not able to sustain itself with humans. In the Netherlands, their life cycle is entirely indoors.
Imago: 8 legs; red brown colour; about 8 mm long in engorged state and they blue grey in colour. Nymphs: 8 legs and red-brown, dark grey in engorged state. Larvae: 6 legs; blue in engorged state.
Incomplete metamorphosis Egg stadium: eggs are dropped in seams and cracks of ceiling by the female tick after fertilization. These ticks tend to crawl upwards. A female can drop 1000-3000 eggs in her lifetime. Larvae stadium: after 19 to 60 days (Depending on temperature and humidity) small, 6-legged larvae come out of the eggs. These larvae are actively on the lookout for food, and attach to a dog as soon as they get the opportunity. In 3-6 days, the larvae fill themselves with blood, after which they drop themselves and hide in cracks and seams. Nymph stadium: after the blood meal, the larvae moult in 6-23 days into 8-legged nymphs. After several days of inactivity, the nymphs attach to dogs and engorge themselves with blood for a period of 4 to 9 days. After this blood meal they leave the host and hide. Nymphs moult in 12 to 29 days into adult ticks after the food intake. Adult ticks are very active when they are disturbed. They look for a host, attach themselves to them and stay there for 6 to 50 days. After a blood meal, the egg production is initiated in the female. Lifespan up to several years. Hunger period up to 200 days.
Dog ticks almost don’t exist in the free nature in our country, but they do exist where dogs live. In the Netherlands, they can survive in heated buildings. In houses: hidden in seams and cracks of walls, behind plinths, under facades, ceiling edges. Food: blood of dogs; sometimes these ticks live on rats and mice.
In exceptional cases, the dog tick can choose people as its host. This tick species can transmit diseases in different parts of the world (from dog to dog); these illnesses include the rickettsioses with which people can be infected as well.
Mainly via the dog, which can easily pick up the dog tick in objects where it is hiding. Also during vacation around the Mediterranean Sea, in caravans, tents etc.
Frequent inspection for the presence of ticks on or near the dog. After detection of these ticks, the veterinarian should be consulted.
There are substances on the market to eliminate ticks on dogs, based on propoxur among other things. In houses where these ticks are found, the house – after inventory of the object – should be sprayed with substances based on deltamethrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin. The attic should not be forgotten in this. Inspection after the extermination action is desired; if necessary, a second treatment can be initiated. In addition, the objects visited by the dogs must be inspected.