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D2003-17

Dear Daisy Dog

My dog has had many ticks this spring. They seem fairly large, so I assume they are not deer ticks, the ones that carry Lyme’s disease, and I don’t have to worry about them giving him any diseases. Is that correct?

Daisy Responds

Deer ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, “quest” in the spring and fall – which means they climb to the tops of plants and attach themselves to us dogs when we sniff the leaves.
An adult deer tick is easy for you humans to see, especially when its abdomen is full of blood. The immature nymphs are pretty tiny and more difficult to spot. Both bite dogs – and humans.

You can tell the difference between a deer tick and the American dog tick, another common tick, by examining the tick’s upper back and mouth parts.

The deer tick’s upper back is solid black, while the American dog tick’s is speckled or patterned.

The deer tick’s mouth parts are quite prominent, while the American dog tick has very short mouth parts.

The American dog tick can transmit such diseases as ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both of which are potentially fatal.

Incidentally, Lyme disease was named for the town in Connecticut where the disease was first identified. The name is Lyme, not Lyme’s.

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