Ixodes spp

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Life stage of Ixodes holocyclus Courtesy of University of Sydney

Ixodes spp are a parasitic tick that causes dermal irritation, anemia and tick paralysis in dogs.

Parasitic species include:

  • Ixodes holocyclus
  • Ixodes ricinus[1]

The smallest stage, the larvae are also known as 'seed' or 'grass' ticks, while latter stages are often referred to as 'bush' ticks or 'shellbacks', but all of these terms refer to the same animal. The unengorged adult female is around 4mm long, the nymph around 2mm, while the larvae are less than 1mm[2].

During engorgement on dogs, they can transmit proteobacteria such as Borrelia spp and Mycoplasma haemocanis[3], a number of protozoa such as Babesia spp, Anaplasma spp, Hepatozoon canis[4], , Ehrlichia spp as well as filarial parasites such as Dirofilaria immitis and D. repens.

Treatment and prevention are relatively effective with fipronil or ivermectin-based drugs.


  1. Leschnik MW et al (2012) Species, developmental stage and infection with microbial pathogens of engorged ticks removed from dogs and questing ticks. Med Vet Entomol doi: 10.1111
  2. University of Sydney
  3. Sperling J et al (2012) Evolving perspectives on lyme borreliosis in Canada. Open Neurol J 6:94-103
  4. Hamel D et al (2012) Vector-borne pathogens in ticks and EDTA-blood samples collected from client-owned dogs, Kiev, Ukraine. Ticks Tick Borne Dis Sep 20