Ticks…Danger to Humans and Animals

Commonly known as ticks, these parasites belong to the family, Ixodidae.  They are a dangerous transmitting agent of diseases that can infect both humans and animals.

The harm caused to said animals can be very severe.  Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis are the most common in dogs, which cause chronic anemia and, if not treated in time, death.

They favor warm and humid places.  So they prefer to place themselves between the legs, behind or inside the ears, or in the groin of animals to feed on their blood.

To eliminate ticks from your animals they should be bathed with medicated shampoos as indicated by your veterinarian every 7 days, along with fumigating the area where the animal lives every 15 days, without the presence of the animal.ticks2

Be careful to not overuse the poison trying to kill the ticks so you avoid intoxicating your animal.

There are also some diseases that these parasites can transmit to humans and they are as follows:

Colorado Tick Fever

This is a disease that may be transmitted by the bite of a hard tick (Dermacentor andersoni).

It ocurrs mostly in Colorado, U.S.A.

The symptoms it presents are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Fever
  • General weakness
  • Muscle aches, among others

Lyme Disease

Ticks infected by biting infected rats or deer carry this disease.  They can also infect our domestic animals.

It was first reported in th U.S., but there have also been cases in Europe and Asia.

In the first stage of this disease, the infection has not expanded throughout the whole body.  In the second stage, the bacteria begins to expand through the body, and in the third stage, it has completely expanded.

In order for the tick to transmit the disease, it needs to be attached to the skin for 24 to 36 hours.




Symptoms of this disease include:

  • General lack of energy
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches, among others

Black-legged ticks can be so tiny that a person does not realize they are attached to the body.

Lyme disease, if diagnosed early can be cured with antibiotics.

In the 3rd stage, this disease can generate prolonged joint pain.  It can also cause heart rhythm and nervous system problems.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

It is caused by a bacteria transmitted by ticks.  The tick must be attached to a person for at least 20 hours to transmit the disease.

Ticks spread the infection throughout the U.S., Central, and South America.

Symptoms that show:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Confusion, etc.

Carefully extract the tick if imbedded in the skin, and begin treating the site with antibiotics to eliminate infection.  

Tick Paralysis

The saliva of some ticks can contain a toxin that can cause paralysis in children.  Generally, it will heal itself upon correctly removing the parasite.

Symptoms:

  • Tingling sensation
  • Weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Unstable walk

Tularemia

Consists of an infection that is caused by the bite of a tick, bite of an infected rodent, or contact with infected wild animal meat.

It is most frequently found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing, among others

This disease can be fatal in about 5% of the untreated cases.

Complications:

Pericarditis, osteomyelitis, meningitis, pneumonia.

Correct Way to Extract an Embedded Tick

To remove a tick, one should take into consideration certain recommendations.

Gently grasp the tick by the head or the mouth with tweezers, and tug gently, yet firmly.  You should not squish it on the floor, since the blood and eggs can spread, and make sure that you do not leave the head embedded in the skin.

Another valid option would be to put a little rubbing alcohol, iodine, or parafen on the tick so it lets go on its own.

Also…

  • Don’t forget to use gloves or a paper towel.
  • Wash the area around the tick with water and soap, and also wash your hands.
  • In the case that you cannot extract the head, seek professional help.
  • Keep the tick in a closed container and keep it in case any symptom mentioned appears.

Prevention

  • If you walk through tall grasses or forested areas, wear shirts with long sleeves and pants.
  • Shoes should be close-toed.
  • Clothing should be light-colored so ticks are easily spotted.
  • Spray clothing with insect repellant.
  • Keep shirt tucked into the pants.
  • Pay attention to your pets, check them periodically to detect the presence of these parasites.