Ornithodoros spp

From Dog
Adult Ornithodoros moubata[1]

Ornithodorus spp are a hematophagous parasitic tick occasionally found on dogs.

This tick are normal residents of avian roosts and nests, rodent burrows and the resting places of large mammals[2].

Adult Ornithodoros can survive for years between feeding.

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Ornithodoros brasiliensis (mouro tick)
  • Ornithodoros hermsi (primarily rodents)
  • Ornithodoros turicata[3]
  • Ornithodoros rostratus (primarily cattle)[4]
  • Ornithodoros parkeri (prairie dog)[5]

Tick toxicosis has been reported in dogs infested with O. brasiliensis, resulting in disseminated skin rash, pruritus, mucosal hyperemia, lethargy, and fever[6].

Ornithodoros are important vectors and reservoirs for relapsing fever spirochetes (Borrelia turicatae and B. recurrentis), and are also thought to be agents for Babesia spp.

Infection may be maintained in tick populations for many years by transovarial transmission of the spirochetes from female ticks to their offspring and tends to remain endemic in wild rodent populations.


  1. CDC
  2. Bowman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:50-51
  3. Whitney MS et al (2007) Spirochetemia caused by Borrelia turicatae infection in 3 dogs in Texas. Vet Clin Pathol '36(2):212-216
  4. Battsetseg B et al (2007) Babesia parasites develop and are transmitted by the non-vector soft tick Ornithodoros moubata (Acari: Argasidae). Parasitology 134(1):1-8
  5. Gage KL et al (2001) Isolation and characterization of Borrelia parkeri in Ornithodoros parkeri (Ixodida: Argasidae) collected in Colorado. J Med Entomol 38(5):665-674
  6. Reck J et al (2011) Tick toxicosis in a dog bitten by Ornithodoros brasiliensis. Vet Clin Pathol 40(3):356-360