Ticks are blood feeding external parasites of mammals, birds, and reptiles throughout the world. Approximately 850 species have been described worldwide There are two well established families of ticks, the Ixodidae (hard ticks), and Argasidae (soft ticks).

Both are important vectors of disease causing agents to humans and animals throughout the world. Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood sucking arthropod, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses. Some human diseases of current interest caused by tick-borne pathogens include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and tick-borne relapsing fever. All active stages (larva, nymph, adult) are blood feeders and adults require blood for sperm or egg production. Following their blood meal, adult females drop off the host and die after they have laid up to 3.000 eggs. Most ticks seek hosts by crawling up the stems of grass or perch on the edges of leaves on the ground in a typical posture with the front legs extended (a behavior called questing). Others are so-called nest parasites, questing in sheltered environments. Carbon dioxide as well as heat and movement serve as stimuli for the questing behavior. As soon as a suitable host brushes against their extended front legs, the questing tick climbs on to its body, holds on tight, bores into the skin and begins to draw tissue fluids such as blood

Tick species

Ticks belong to the arachnid family (classification: phylum Arthropoda, class Arachnida). Companion animals are affected by a number of tick species varying considerably in terms of their occurrence, choice of host, length of the life cycle, and role as vectors for diseases. The most commonly identified species belong to the Ixodes, Rhipicephalus and Dermacentor genera such as: Ixodes ricinus, the castor bean tick, most widely distributed in Europe, Ixodes scapularis (dammini), the black-legged deer tick, most widely distributed in North America, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, the brown dog tick, distributed all over the world, Dermacentor variabilis, the American dog tick, most widely distributed in North America.

Lifecycle

Ticks have a variety of life histories with respect to optimizing their chance of contact with an appropriate host to ensure survival. Some ticks feed on only one host throughout all three life stages. These ticks are called one host ticks. This type of tick remains on one host during the larval and nymphal stages, until they become adults, and females drop off the host after feeding to lay their batch of eggs. Other ticks feed on two hosts during their lives and are called two host ticks. This type of tick feeds and remains on the first host during the larval and nymphal life stages, and then drops off and attaches to a different host as an adult for its final blood meal. The adult female then drops off after feeding to lay eggs. Finally, many ticks feed on three hosts, one during each life stage, and are appropriately named three host ticks. These ticks drop off and reattach to a new host during each life stage, until finally the adult females lay their batch of eggs. In each case, the fed adult stage is terminal, that is, after laying one batch of eggs the female dies, and after the male has reproduced, he dies as well.

Harmful effects of tick infestation

A tick bite not only causes a localized infection, it can also serve as the portal through which serious diseases are transmitted. These can have a severe impact on the animal's well being. Ticks can transmit disease agents such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. The most harmful effects are:

Transmission of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

Transmission of Babesiosis 
Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and are spread by certain ticks.
Tickborne transmission is most common in particular regions and seasons and usually peaks during the warm months.

Transmission of Ehrlichiosis 
Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. Human ehrlichiosisis a disease caused by at least three different ehrlichial species: Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, and a third Ehrlichia species provisionally called Ehrlichia muris-like (EML). Ehrlichiae are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is the primary vector of both Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks following a tick bite. Ehrlichios is is diagnosed based on symptoms, clinical presentation, and later confirmed with specialized laboratory tests.

Transmission of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
Tick-borne encephalitis, or TBE, is a human viral infectious disease involving the central nervous system. The disease is most often manifest as meningitis (inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges). Although TBE is most commonly recognized as a neurologic disease, mild febrile illnesses can also occur. Long-lasting or permanent neuropsychiatric sequelae are observed in 10-20% of infected patients. 

Tick prevention and control

In general, allowing companion animals to roam freely is not recommended. Keep dogs and cats tied or restricted to a mowed area. If a tick should be found in the animal's coat, it can be removed correctly with special tick tweezers. Grasp the tick as closely to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. It's best to let your veterinarian show you how this is done. This is your pet – one of the family members.

Do not use collars, sprays and ampoules (spots on) containing chemicals substances in no way.
Articles about pets' mortality and irreversible damages, results of chemical pesticides use, are published every year in the world.
Be sure to use only botanical products even if it requires more attention and more activity.
When you are using natural pest control products, be sure that they contain essential oils and not extracts.
The percentage of essential oils is most significant.
One of the criteria for the amount of active ingredients (essential oils) is the container.
Only container or ampoule made of metal can contain effective percentage of active ingredients.

Your pet depends on you and you certainly do not want to cause it harm and suffering

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