The Lone Star Tick is a new traveller from the US and expanding its range each year. It is an aggressive tick, not caring what mammal or bird it attaches itself to. It can carry many tick-borne diseases including Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tick paralysis in dogs, and tularemia in humans. It is found in wooded areas, thick underbrush, and where a lot of deer reside. They are brown with a white spot on the back to make them more identifiable.
This tick as been in the news a lot lately and as it has a potential side effect in humans, it can make you possibly allergic to red meat. There is a part of cell membranes in all mammals (except humans, apes and a few monkeys) that is also found in the saliva of the Lone Star Tick. When the tick attaches to a human and injects saliva to keep the blood flowing, making the body think that it has been attacked by a foreign substance. The human body reacts to it and begins to make antibodies against it. It is no big deal, until it encounters the substance again, which may happen as it also found in red meat. Sometimes in people, they could have an allergic reaction after eating meat if they have been previously bitten by a Lone Star Tick AND have produced antibodies (a lot of if’s). The reaction could occur 3-8 hours after eating and is often shown by itching, hives, vomiting and diarrhea.
Dogs already can fight off the tick saliva as they already have the saliva of the tick naturally, meaning that the tick saliva is not a foreign substance to them at all. The best defence is a good offence when dealing with these ticks. Having your pet on prevention such as Bravecto will kill them off before they have a chance to pass along the disease to your pets. For people, make sure that you do a thorough check of yourself after being in areas where you are most likely to find ticks.
If you have any questions about tick prevention, give us a call at 519.893.1360.
Written by: Manitou Animal Hospital