Ticks in dogs part 1 tick types and diseases blog contribution of the learning paw

… spring is here. As soon as life awakens and we leave the wet and cold season behind, it is here – the
Tick time .

Ticks are most common from February to the end of October.

But with global warming and the ever longer, warmer weather periods, the ticks are also more and more active until November/December.

Ticks are tough!

Especially mild winters promote the tick population.

On the one hand, because the tick itself encounters more food sources, for example deer or mice, foxes or moles.

ticks in dogs part 1 tick types and diseases blog post the learning paw

On the other hand, in mild winters ticks feel particularly at home in damp leaves and pine needles, because here they find the high humidity that is essential for their survival and are well protected there.

Constant temperatures from 6 degrees Celsius are sufficient for the ticks to become active again or not even to fall into their winter torpor.

Thus ticks are increasingly active throughout the year.

At the same time it seems to be, that the ticks, which carry the pathogens, which I will talk about later, survive cold and heat better than ticks, which are not infected.

Therefore, scientists ame that in very cold or very dry and warm months, more infected ticks are found than previously amed. Simply because these ticks are better protected in themselves. Therefore have a higher chance of survival.

Exactly this, makes the tick dangerous for our dogs throughout the year.

Why do ticks always survive better?

They survive better because they

1. find more food sources, 2. enjoy the mild climate and – thus the humidity they need for their survival, – they therefore do not fall into a winter torpor and 3. infected ticks have a protection by the pathogens.

At the latest with the first spring-like temperatures, dog owners are therefore again driven by the question: "How do I protect my dog now??"

Let's first clarify the question:

What are ticks? Ticks belong to the arachnids. Further belong to the subclass of mites.

ticks in dogs part 1 tick types and diseases blog contribution of the learning paw

The tick can be recognized by its triangular body, eight legs and a small head with mouth parts.

Between the "pincers" of the mouth tool, lies the actual biting tool that is also equipped with tiny claws. With these claws the tick carves a small pit in the skin. Now the tick stings with its re-hooked "stinging proboscis". Blood collects in this puncture site, which the tick sucks up again and again.

So that the living creature, such as our dog, does not notice the bite of the tick, although the sting of the tick is much thicker than the sting of a mosquito, the tick releases an anesthetic with its saliva when it bites.

In addition, the tick not only attaches itself firmly to the living creature by means of the hooks on its proboscis, but 5 – 30 minutes after the bite, it produces a kind of adhesive and thus prevents it from being easily scratched off.

So the tick uses 2 mechanisms:

– once the barbs on the stinging proboscis and – at the same time a kind of glue,

to attach themselves firmly to the skin of the living creature.

The individual groups of ticks

Worldwide there are over 900 different tick species. In Germany there are about 20 species of ticks.

Two categories can be distinguished:

Leather ticks

In Germany, the pigeon tick, as a leather tick species, plays the greatest role.

As the name suggests, pigeon ticks live near the nesting places of pigeons and their nests. Here are both the feral domestic pigeons, as well as rock pigeons and breeding pigeons affected. Pigeon ticks hide in cracks and crevices. They are not seen during the day, because pigeon ticks are nocturnal. Therefore, they surprise their host during sleep.

If they do not find pigeons as a food source, they also bite other birds or poultry, in very exceptional cases also humans.

The special characteristic of leather ticks is that they can survive up to 20 years without food.

Shield ticks

The most widespread and best known tick species in Germany, which belongs to the category of ticks, is the "common wood tick". Among the ticks there are the hedgehog tick, the alluvial tick, the sheep tick, the fox tick, the deer tick and the brown dog tick, just to name a few.

The most important tick species

The "common wood tick

The "common wood tick" is slightly larger than the "brown dog tick".

The "common wood tick" transmits the:

– Lyme disease, the – early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE for short) or meningitis – anaplasmosis.

NoteDogs very rarely contract the early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME), i.e. meningitis.

The most common disease that the tick transmits in our latitudes is Lyme disease.


This tick, the "common wood tick", lives mainly in deciduous and mixed forests. But one meets them also in parks, gardens and at highly overgrown waysides.

This tick species is responsible for many tick bites in humans.


Explanation: The host of a parasite is always the organism that carries the parasite.B. supplied with food. The parasite here is the tick. It needs a blood meal. From which organism does it get?

The common wood tick has a number of hosts.

So it is found on sheep, cattle, dogs, deer, horses& Humans. At the same time on mice and other rodents, as well as rabbits, birds and reptiles, such as lizards.


The "common wood tick" infects dogs with the pathogens of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and In very rare cases with the early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME)/brain house inflammation.

In the meantime one ames that in Germany,

– 10 – 30% of all woodbucks Borreliosis pathogen, – 1 – 4% of all woodbucks Anaplasmosis pathogen,

and in risk areas,

– 1 – 5% TBE pathogen in herself. (In Bavaria even up to 20%, as a high risk area!))

The most important diseases for humans , which are caused by the "common wood tick":

– Lyme disease – meningitis (FSME)

The riparian forest tick

The wood tick is slightly larger than the "common wood tick". It is easily recognizable by its white, marbled dorsal shield, the outer edge of which is reddish-orange in color.


In mixed forests, but also in parks, gardens, pastures and grasslands.


The wood tick is found on sheep, cattle, deer horses, pigs, dogs and small rodents such as mice.


Humans are very rarely bitten and cannot be infected with babesiosis, also called canine malaria.


The alluvial forest tick is the most important vector of canine babesiosis. It is also called dog malaria.

Originally, babesiosis was a "Mediterranean disease". Today the pathogens also occur in

– Germany, – Poland, – Switzerland and – the Netherlands.

Important Notice:
If this disease is not treated, it often runs short and fatal.

The "brown dog tick


In contrast to our native tick species, such as the "common wood tick", the "brown dog tick" originally comes from Africa. Like the alluvial tick, the "brown dog tick" came to Germany through dog tourism. Today, the "brown dog tick" is native to the whole of southern Europe.


As the name of the tick suggests, the preferred host of the "brown dog tick", is the dog.

But this type of tick is also found on sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, cats and rabbits or hares.

The special features of the "brown dog tick

In contrast to other tick species, the brown dog tick is able to settle indoors.

All other tick species need a high humidity to survive. But the "brown dog tick" can survive the dryness in the home well.

Once the "brown dog tick" reproduces in the home, it can become a real plague. Because the tick crawls into the smallest crevices and cracks or in dark corners behind furniture, where the female lays the eggs. Within 20 days, a female tick can infect up to 5.lay 000 eggs.

Humans are very rarely bitten by the "brown dog tick". This is most often the case with a mass infestation in the home.


The brown dog tick can transmit the pathogen of the

– canine ehrlichiosis, – anaplasmosis and – babesiosis

In dogs, ehrlichiosis is also known as "tick fever" or "Mediterranean disease".

The bacteria infect the white blood cells of the dog. Here they block the immune system, which then can no longer act against the bacteria.

Developmental stages of the tick

Ticks go through three stages of development:

– larva – nymph – adult tick

What makes development stages of the tick important?

A tick reaches the next stage of development only when it gets a blood meal. Only then it develops further. At the same time, however, it can hibernate at any stage of its development. So also already as larva. Also as a nymph. It does not have to become an adult to survive. This makes ticks, thus particularly capable of survival. At the same time, the tick is not in a hurry with a blood meal either. Can easily go a long time without feeding. It is a true hunger artist. Survives 99% of its lifetime without a host.

The "common wood tick", for example, develops over two to six years, depending on when it can take a blood meal.

How the tick comes on the dog or the human being?

Myth – Tick –

The widespread belief that ticks fall from the trees or jump out of the grass is false. But this amption still stubbornly persists.


Leather ticks do not have eyes.

The eyes of shield ticks, such as the widespread "common wood tick", have hardly any sea force.

Ticks wait for their victim, usually at knee or waist level, on grasses or bushes. To locate its victim, the tick uses a very special organ. This is their Haller's organ.

It was named after the German pharmacist G. Haller (1853 – 1886) who discovered this sensory organ.

The Haller's organ

With this sensory organ, the tick recognizes its prey by smell. It is amed that the tick perceives, i.e. smells, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and a variety of organic compounds that occur in the breath of its hosts or in the sweat, in this case it would be butyric acid and ammonia, for example.

And it can perceive all this, even at great distances of 10 – 15 meters. Likewise, ticks react to their body heat, air movement, changes in light conditions and vibrations of the underground.

The tick waits for its host

ticks in dogs part 1 tick species and diseases blog contribution of the learning paw

The tick holds on to the blades of grass or leaves with its back legs and stretches its front legs upwards. Then it begins to sway back and forth to locate a host with the help of its Haller's organ.

If, for example, a dog passes directly by the tick, the parasite can be wiped off and attaches itself to it.

Then it goes in search of a suitable puncture site.

During a blood meal, a tick can absorb up to 100 times the weight of its own body in blood. There are also tick species that are 600 times heavier after sucking blood.

The active hunt of a tick for a host

The "brown dog tick , on the other hand actively goes hunting. It specifically searches for victims and wanders around.

With luck and using its Haller's organ, it makes out its host and climbs on it. Then it also looks for a suitable place to bite.

Preferred bites of ticks in dogs

Once a tick has attached itself to the dog, it begins to crawl around on it, looking for a suitable place to bite into.

A Study of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna shows that ticks do not spend a lot of time searching for a suitable spot. Due to the dog's dense fur, they usually bite immediately at the spot where they got on the dog.

Nevertheless, ticks are basically found everywhere on the dog's body. Especially parts of the body that are thin or where the skin is very thin, are particularly affected and are preferred by ticks.

You will therefore often find ticks in the following areas:

– Head – Neck – Shoulder – Chest – Muzzle – Ears, including the inside and edges of the ears – Armpits, i.e. elbow folds – Groin area – Abdomen – Genital area – Between the toes

If you discover a tick on your dog, remove it immediately.

It is still unclear when an infected tick transmits pathogens through its saliva. But the longer a tick sits in your dog's skin, the higher the risk of transmission of pathogens.

After a bite it can take hours to days until the transmission with the pathogens occurs. Therefore, it is important to spot and remove ticks immediately.

What makes the tick so dangerous?

The tick lives on the blood meal. A female tick can only become pregnant when she has eaten enough. If it is then fertilized by a male, it lies 4.000 eggs and more.

The tick sucks blood from its host with the help of its proboscis. In the process it divides the blood into its solid. Liquid components.

The solid blood components are digested by the tick. The liquid components are returned to the host during the sucking process. In the process, possible pathogens are transferred from the tick's intestine to the host's organism. In addition, viruses or bacteria can also be transmitted by the saliva of the tick. Because the saliva of the tick prevents the closure of the wound and a sense of pain of the host.

The health risk from the tick

The main diseases transmitted by ticks to the dog:

Lyme disease
Early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME)

Lyme disease

The most common tick-borne disease in dogs is Lyme disease. The main carrier of Lyme disease is the "common wood tick".

The incubation period, i.e. the time between infection and the outbreak of an infectious disease, is between 3 and 30 days.

Lyme disease is transmitted via bacteria (borrelia).

These are located in the tick's intestine. Only after the tick bite, the pathogens are activated by the blood meal. During the blood meal the tick releases undigested blood residues from its intestine into the wound of the dog.

– ring-shaped reddening of the skin around the tick bite – pain in muscles and joints – lameness – neurological deficits – fiber – lymph node swelling – lethargy – loss of appetite – emaciation – sometimes high fever up to 40.5 °C


Until a few years ago, this disease was considered a typical travel disease. This means that only dogs that were taken on vacation trips to the Mediterranean or that came from this area as foreign animal protection dogs fell ill with babesiosis

– Germany, – Poland, – the Netherlands and – Switzerland

came and so with the Alluvial tick Contact had.

These dogs brought the floodplain tick and also the pathogens to Germany, where it is now widespread.

Initially, babesiosis was therefore also known as "Mediterranean disease" and at the beginning of the appearance of babesiosis, one spoke of a motion sickness.

Today, every year about 3.000 – 4.000 dogs that have not been abroad.

The pathogen of babesiosis, is called Babesia canis. It lives in the red blood cells and destroys them gradually.

In reference to the symptoms of malaria in humans, babesiosis is also called "canine malaria".

The incubation period, is between 1 – 3 weeks.

The symptoms are unspecific at the beginning. The symptoms include:

– malaria-like: – fever – dissolution of red blood cells, associated with anemia (anemia) – coagulation disorders

– Apathy – loss of appetite – later diarrhea and vomiting, followed by acute kidney failure – "cola-colored" urine, because it contains decay products of the destroyed blood cells – dog suffers from shortness of breath and cou.


Also the anaplasmosis is transmitted by the "common wood tick"
"Common wood tick" transmitted.

In anaplasmosis, the pathogens infect part of the white blood cells and multiply in them.

The incubation period, is between 4 and 20 days.

If the dog is acutely ill, it usually has the following symptoms:

– high fever (therefore, anaplasmosis is also colloquially called "tick fever") – listlessness – loss of appetite and accompanying weight loss

In addition:

– Joint inflammation – lameness

as well as:

– heavy bleeding, from the body orifices – nose bleeding – bleeding gums – bleeding into the outer skin and mucous membranes

An acute phase is followed by a period in which the dog appears healthy. However, the dog may show symptoms of the disease again if its immune system is weakened. Here the triggers can be, both other diseases, but also stress. Anaplasmosis is a zoonosis. Causes human ehrlichiosis in humans.

Early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME)

According to the present state of knowledge, TBE is rather rare in dogs.

The early summer meningoencephalitis, does not occur everywhere in Germany. The pathogen is particularly widespread in the southern states of Germany and in Central and Eastern Europe.

The early summer meningoencephalitis is transmitted by the "common wood tick".

TBE, however, is a
particularly dangerous viral disease for humans. Because here the serious, neurological symptoms triggered by the TBE, usually remain permanent.

Currently investigates a Study of the University of Leipzig , Whether, based on the data from dogs, a risk of disease for humans can be determined more accurately. According to the Robert Koch Institute, about 1 – 5 percent of ticks in risk areas carry the TBE pathogen.

In Germany, the TBE virus occurs mainly in the risk areas:

– Bavaria – Baden-Wuerttemberg

– Hesse – Rhineland-Palatinate and – Thuringia before.

If the dog is infected with TBE, the disease is severe and often ends with the death of the dog, or. with its putting to sleep.

The incubation period, is between 4 and 28 days.

Typical symptoms of a FSME in dogs are:

– fever – dizziness – muscle tremors – paralysis – hyperextension of the trunk and the front and rear legs

In the treatment of TBE only the symptoms are alleviated.


Ehrlichiosis is a common disease in dogs, from the Mediterranean region, respectively. A typical travel sickness of dogs, which were taken there. Ehrlichiosis is transmitted through the "Brown dog tick" transmitted.

If a dog is infected with ehrlichiosis, the bacteria attack the dog's white blood cells. So the pathogen also gets into

– lymph nodes – spleen and – other organs.

Here, the pathogens block the immune system, which then can no longer act against the bacteria.

One to three weeks after the infection it comes to the disease book.

The symptoms include:

– recurring fever – loss of appetite, accompanied by weight loss – apathy – respiratory distress – anemia / anemia, recognizable by pale mucous membranes – bleeding – swelling of spleen and lymph nodes – decrease in white blood cells


Attention: The name of the disease "hepatozoonosis" is misleading. With this illness it concerns
not to a zoonosis.

In a zoonosis, an infectious disease can be transmitted from animals to humans or from humans to animals.

This is not so with a Hepatozoonose! There is no risk of transmission to humans!

The hepatozoonosis is caused by the "Brown dog tick" transmit.

Hepatozoonosis occurs mainly in dogs that come from

– Portugal – southern Spain or – from the Canary Islands, i.e.: – Gran Canaria, – La Palma, – Fuerteventura, – Lanzarote, – Tenerife, – La Gomera or – El Hierro

Meanwhile, the disease of hepatozoonosis occurs throughout Europe, including Germany.

This is related to the spread of foxes. foxes are more and more infected with the pathogens.

The dog is infected with the pathogen by eating or eating the dog. Ingestion of a "brown dog tick".

The pathogen penetrates the intestinal wall and eventually affects the internal organs, such as

In addition, hepatozoonosis affects,

– the lymphatic system, – the musculature, – the bone marrow and – the central nervous system (CNS for short)

An outbreak of the infection usually occurs when the dog is infected with the pathogens of ehrlichiosis or babesiosis at the same time.

The incubation period, is between 2 – 4 weeks.

If the dog is acutely ill, here one speaks of up to 3 months, it shows

Symptoms like :

– Fever – swelling of the lymph nodes – diarrhea – vomiting – anemia (anemia), which can be recognized by pale mucous membranes – nasal and eye discharge

In case of chronic course (longer than 3 months), there are possibly. the following symptoms in addition:

– muscle inflammation, – therefore muscle pain and stiff/unsteady gait – affected organs like spleen and liver are swollen – affected muscles, organs and lymph nodes are touch-sensitive and painful

– Central nervous system impairment – epilepsy-like seizures


Transmissible diseases by ticks to the dog

– hence the name "canine malaria" – apathy – loss of appetite – later diarrhea and vomiting, followed by acute kidney failure – "cola-colored" urine – dog suffers from shortness of breath and coughs – heart beats faster

– ring-shaped reddening of the skin around the tick bite – pain in muscles and joints – lameness – neurological deficits – fiber – lymph node swelling – lethargy – loss of appetite – emaciation – sometimes high fever up to 40.5 °C

– is transmitted by the "common wood tick


– high fever – lethargy – loss of appetite – lameness – joint inflammation – severe bleeding from the body orifices – nose bleeding – gum bleeding – bleeding into the outer skin and mucous membranes

– Blood smear – examination of the blood serum for antibodies

(also called "tick fever")

– Transmission of the Ehrlich Canis bacterium, by the brown dog tick

– recurrent fever – loss of appetite – shortness of breath – nosebleeds – bleeding gums – swelling of spleen and lymph nodes – later permanent anemia

– examination of blood serum for antibodies – blood smear – bone marrow smear

– administration of antibiotics: – doxycycline

– Dogs fall ill in contrast to humans only very rarely – inflammation of the meninges and the brain: – strong pain sensation on touches in the head and neck area – restricted reflexes – fever – dizziness – muscle tremors – paralysis – additional must be an immune deficiency by other infections or. Diseases present.

– Transmission by the "brown dog tick" – resp. Hedgehog tick

– fever – swelling of the lymph nodes – diarrhea – vomiting – anemia – pale mucous membranes – nasal and eye discharge – muscle inflammation – stiff gait

Important Notice:

Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It fights several types of bacteria and is therefore often used for the treatment of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

The active substance, Doxycycline hyclate, causes severe irritation of mucous membranes. Therefore, never give your dog the tablet on an empty stomach. To protect the esophagus, give your dog the tablet with his food or hide the tablet in a meat pocket or a chicken heart.

Particularities in your household

If dog and cat live under one roof

If you have a cat living in your household as well as a dog, only medications that are compatible with both species should be used. Please consult your veterinarian.

Is pregnancy really excluded?

If you want to be on the safe side, discuss with your veterinarian the administration of a preparation that is suitable for pregnant and later lactating bitches.

In addition, the preparation should also be compatible for puppies.

In the Podcast appear regularly new topics approximately around the dog. Best you subscribe him right now, so as not to miss a single episode.

Just as exciting it continues with the two other parts:

You can find the second part on ticks in dogs here:

You can find the third part on ticks in dogs here:

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