Dermacentor variabilis

Dermacentor variabilis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Dermacentor variabilisDermacentor variabilis the American dog tick, a species that is a common pest of dogs along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., a vector of tularemia, and a principal vector of Rickettsia rickettsii which causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the central and eastern U.S.; may also cause tick paralysis. Dermacentor variabilis is found predominantly in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains and as its name suggests is most commonly found on dogs as an adult. The tick also occurs in certain areas of Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Dermacentor variabilis is a 3-host tick, targeting smaller mammals as a larva and nymph and larger mammals as an adult. Although it is normally found on dogs, this tick will readily attack larger animals, such as cattle, horses, and even humans. The 8-legged adult is a vector of the pathogens causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and tularemia, and can cause canine tick paralysis. While the Dermacentor variabilis can be managed without pesticides, when necessary a recommended acaricide is an effective way of eliminating an existing tick infestation near residences. Dermacentor variabilis is widely distributed in the United States east of a line drawn from Montana to South Texas. It is also found in Canada, east of Saskatchewan, and in California, west of the Cascade and the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges. This species is most abundant in the eastern United States from Massachusetts south to Florida but is also common in more central areas of the U.S., including Iowa and Minnesota. Dermacentor variabilis develops from the egg stage, to the 6-legged larva, to the 8-legged nymph, and finally to the adult. The cycle requires a blood meal before progression from larva to nymph, from nymph to adult and by the adult for egg production. This cycle also requires three different hosts and requires at least 54 days to complete, but can take up to two years depending on the host availability, host location and the temperature. It was been suggested that adult ticks move to the edge of the roads and trails in an attempt to find a host, or "quest." Some have hypothesized that because many animals typically follow trails, they leave an odor that attracts these ticks causing them to move toward and quest alongside trails in attempts to find a host. Dermacentor ticks may also induce tick paralysis by elaboration of a neurotoxin that induces rapidly progressive flaccid quadriparesis similar to Guillain-Barr

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