Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) has recently been identified as a carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, in the southwestern U.S. and along the U.S-Mexico border. Brown dog ticks are found throughout the U.S. and the world. Dogs are the primary host for the brown dog tick for each of its life stages, although the tick may also bite humans or other mammals.
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This three-host tick tends to prefer dogs at all life stages: Larvae, nymphs, and adults prefer to feed on dogs but also feed on other small mammals.
Most common in warm, subtropical climates in shaded sandy areas, as well as in cracks, crevices, and ceilings of houses and kennels.
These ticks are very prolific, and a single female can lay up to 4,000 eggs or more! Once hatched, larvae and nymphs may persist for 6-9 months, and adult ticks have been reported to survive unfed for over 18 months. All stages are resilient to desiccation, resulting in their observed persistence in and around human dwellings. These ticks are often observed inside residences or other infested structures literally crawling up the walls. Activity of all stages is generally reported from late spring to early autumn, but questing may occur year-round in warmer regions of its range.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Brown Dog Tick): Worldwide distribution—found throughout North America and Hawaii, it is very common in the southeastern and west coast states. It appears to thrive in temperate regions of the country, however it is capable of overwintering in colder climates within kennels and homes. The Brown Dog Tick can survive indoors throughout its entire life-cycle, unlike other tick species.
The brown dog tick has been reported to transmit the bacterial agent Ehrilichia canis, responsible for Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis and E. ewingii in dogs, and E. chaffeensis, the pathogen responsible for causing human ehrlichiosis. The brown dog tick has also been reported to transmit the bacterium Rickettsia ricksettsii, causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans in the southwestern US and Mexico. Other diseases commonly reported to be carried by the brown dog tick include Anaplasmosis and Babsesia vanis vogeli (in dogs).