Today's Veterinary Practice

MAY-JUN 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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ESSENTIALS 11 MAY/JUNE 2018 ● TVPJOURNAL.COM ESSENTIALS While often the same products that are used to combat ticks are used to combat fleas, there are substantial differences between flea and tick control. One of the major differences is in the number of species that confront pets. Although one predominant flea species infests dogs in North America—the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)—at least 10 different tick species may be encountered. There can be remarkable regional variability in the number and diversity of tick species that infest dogs. 1 Practitioners in Hawaii may only deal with one tick species infesting dogs (the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus), whereas practitioners in New Mexico may encounter 3 different species, in California 6 different species and in Kansas up to 7 different tick species. This wide diversity in tick species means that ticks are active at different times of the year, are associated with different reservoir hosts and carry and transmit different diseases. Over the past few decades, the distribution and abundance of certain tick species in North America have changed. 1-4 Two of the best documented are Amblyomma americanum (lone star ticks) and Ixodes scapularis (black-legged or deer ticks). 2-4 Because both of these ticks are important vectors of human and animal pathogens, these changes in distribution and abundance have had a marked effect on both human and animal health. Various factors have contributed to tick population movement, including agricultural practice changes; reforestation; wildlife conservation, relocation and restocking; climatic fluctuations and decreased environmental pesticide application. CHANGES IN TICK DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE Amblyomma americanum Several factors have contributed to the increased range of A. americanum, such as increased habitat and its wide host range that includes deer, small mammals, birds and humans. This tick is found most commonly in woodland habitats with dense underbrush. Substantial reforestation over the past century in urban and rural habitats has provided increased areas of habitat for white-tailed deer, and for survival and expansion of A. americanum. The white-tailed deer is considered a preferred host for A. americanum, and all life stages will feed on white-tailed deer. It is well recognized that before, and in the early- to mid-19th century, white-tailed deer were numerous and widespread throughout North America. But throughout the 19th century, unregulated hunting, loss of natural predators, and extensive loss of habitat decimated deer populations. By the beginning of the 20th century, only an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 deer remained Beyond Borders: The Truth About Ticks Michael W. Dryden, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVM (parasitology) Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology Kansas State University PARASITOLOGY shutterstock.com/Elliotte Rusty Harold DEALING WITH TICK CONTROL When dealing with most 3-host ticks, the problem is that the majority of the reproducing ticks are not on the dogs or cats, but on their natural wildlife hosts.

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