External Parasites, Ticks, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis.

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Ticks are another external parasite that seems to battle back. These are tough eight-legged oval insects that not only eat blood meals but may carry many serious, life-threatening diseases. They come in a variety of sizes (all small, though), and the primary species vary from region to region. Ticks can be differentiated from fleas in that they are rounder and they either walk or are firmly fixed to your dog's body. Most are brown, but some, such as deer ticks, are very small and whitish in color. Female ticks get very large after a blood meal and their color changes from brown to a grayish shade.

There are four stages in the tick life cycle:

Eggs are laid by females in a single batch of thousands. Egg laying is done in the environment, not on the host. The eggs hatch into larvae in several weeks. The larvae then look for a host to feed on, usually the first warm blooded animal who walks by.

The larvae hatch from the eggs and find a warm-blooded host, either a wild or domestic animal. It feeds once for several days, then drops off into the environment and molts into a nymph stage tick. In tick-borne diseases, the larva doesn't carry the disease.

The nymph stage also needs to feed on a warm-blooded host. After a few days of molting, the new nymph is ready to hitch a ride and grab a meal. After feeding for about a week, it drops off again to molt. This process can take months, but once it's done, an adult is the product. In tick-borne diseases, the nymph can carry the disease.

The adult tick is the result of a very lengthy process that involves months, three moltings, and lots of cooperation from three different hosts! Adult ticks can live for nearly two years.
They carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease and can cause tick paralysis.


Like fighting fleas, fighting ticks is a two-stage battle-removal and prevention. If you find ticks on your dog, they need to be carefully removed. You can remove them with tweezers, using a slow, twisting motion, and pulling out the head. Do not use a lighted match or pour gasoline on the tick. It doesn't work and is dangerous to your dog.

Although using a flea-preventative can help repel some ticks, it is not totally effective Dogs should be checked for ticks regularly, especially if they have been in wooded areas or tall brush.