Why ticks are so dangerous to humans and pets — Leila’s student essay

Why Ticks Are So Dangerous To Humans And Pets?

Ticks are tiny bugs, between three to five mm long, that live throughout the world. Generally, ticks can be found in large numbers in higher elevation and especially in wooded and grassy places. Although Arizona is mostly desert, there are more than 25 species. Ticks feed on human and animal blood. Due to this, they can transmit to humans diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Powassan disease, and one that I am familiar with which is Lyme disease.

 I have a cousin who when she was only 20 years old was diagnosed with Lymes disease. It has completely turned her life upside down. She was a student in California at the time and had to come back to Arizona to be with her family. One of her worse symptoms was hair loss and her doctor believes this was brought onto her by ticks.

Another one of her symptoms which is in a minority of cases, Lymes disease caused her to lose weight. She also suffers from severe fatigue as well. Not only are ticks a danger to humans but also to pets.

Close-up of Tick attached next to an Australian Shepherd's eye

Ticks can transmit a number of different diseases to dogs such as Canine Babesiosis, Canine Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lymes disease as well. The symptoms of these diseases vary from weight loss, eye inflation, seizures, and can even be fatal if untreated. Rocky mountain Spotted Fever, which can be transmitted to humans and dogs and will give both symptoms such as muscle pain, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.

The CDC estimated that approximately 300,000 people per year are affected by tick borne infections but it is rare for a human to die from a tick bite. If a human is bitten by a tick, the CDC recommends washing the wound and watching for symptoms such as joint swelling and pain, muscle pain, or a rash for 30 days. The CDC does not recommend taking antibiotics if a tick bites you, however one dose of doxycycline after a tick bite can lower your risk of Lyme disease.

tick crawling on human hand

Most diseases that are caused by tick bites can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. If a dog is bitten by a tick, it is recommended that a disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol is applied to the wound to prevent infection. It is also not recommended to pick up ticks with your fingers but you should rather use tweezers.

There are also several ways to prevent getting ticks. Dogs should regularly be checked for ticks and yards should be cleared of debris and sprayed with anti tick spray. If a dog has ticks, there are oral medications that dogs can take that will get rid of ticks. If the owner decides to give a dog medication to get rid of ticks, the medication will stay in the dog’s bloodstream and will quickly fight any existing parasites and prevent other invading spices from long-term residency. Tick collars and tick sprays for dogs are also highly recommended to help aid in fighting against ticks and preventing ticks.

Author: Leila Daahir

University of Arizona

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.