Dermacentor spp

From Dog
D. variabilis adult male[1]
D. variabilis adult female[1]

Dermacentor spp are a ubiquitous hematophagous parasitic tick of dogs found worldwide.

The basis capituli in these ticks is rectangular as viewed from above.

Dermacentor resembles Rhipicephalus in having eyes and 11 festoons, but the scutum is ornamented and males lack the adanal shields. D. nitens has only seven festoons[2].

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Dermacentor reticulatus[3]
  • Dermacentor silvarum[4]
  • Dermacentor variabilis[5] (American dog tick)
  • Dermacentor marginatus[6]
  • Dermacentor andersoni[7] (rocky Mountain wood tick)
  • Dermacentor nitens[8]
  • Dermacentor occidentalis[9]

Larvae and nymphs engorge on small rodents and adults engorge on dogs and other domestic animals and wildlife.

Adult females feed to repletion over several days, becoming larger as they feed.

Dermacentor feed from dogs, resulting in skin disease, blood loss and transmission of various diseases such as:

Diagnosis of infection is based on visual inspection under light microscopy. Speciation requires either specialists examination or PCR assays.

Treatment and prevention require use of acaricidal drugs such as fipronil or permethrins on a regular basis.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Discover Life
  2. Bownman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri. pp:57-58
  3. 3.0 3.1 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
  4. Zhang L et al (2012) Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in domestic animals in ten provinces/cities of China. Am J Trop Med Hyg 87(1):185-189
  5. Stanneck D et al (2012) Efficacy of an imidacloprid/flumethrin collar against fleas, ticks, mites and lice on dogs. Parasit Vectors 5:102
  6. Spitalská E et al (2012) Rickettsia slovaca and Rickettsia raoultii in Dermacentor marginatus and Dermacentor reticulatus ticks from Slovak Republic. Exp Appl Acarol 57(2):189-197
  7. Dergousoff SJ & Chilton NB (2012) Association of different genetic types of Francisella-like organisms with the rocky mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni) and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) in localities near their northern distributional limits. Appl Environ Microbiol 78(4):965-971
  8. Bermúdez CS et al (2011) Rickettsial infection in domestic mammals and their ectoparasites in El Valle de Antón, Coclé, Panamá. Vet Parasitol 177(1-2):134-138
  9. Gabriel MW et al (2009) Ecology of Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in northwestern California. J Wildl Dis 45(2):344-354
  10. Zygner W et al (2008) Prevalence of Babesia canis, Borrelia afzelii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in hard ticks removed from dogs in Warsaw (central Poland). Vet Parasitol 153(1-2):139-142
  11. Reese SM et al (2011) Transmission efficiency of Francisella tularensis by adult american dog ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). J Med Entomol 48(4):884-890