AKCCHF grant #01780 (open)

Defining the Mechanism by Which Ticks Locate Dogs in Order to Better Prevent Disease Transmission.

Emma Natalie Ivy Weeks, PhD, University of Florida

Update:  Progress Report 01/13/2017 click here

Update:  Progress Report 2016 click here

Update:  Progress Report October 2014 click here

Project Summary from the AKCCHF.org website:

“The brown dog tick (BDT) is common across the U.S. and is the most widely distributed tick in the world. BDT’s carry and transmit the pathogens that cause debilitating diseases such as canine ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. Prevention of these diseases is accomplished through tick control. BDT’s can complete their entire life cycle indoors, making management difficult. Records of infestations are increasing and unpublished data indicates that a high level of pesticide resistance is present in domestic populations. Consequently once introduced, these ticks are particularly hard to eradicate and as one female tick may lay 5,000 eggs, the problem soon gets out-of-hand. Pesticide resistance leads to aggressive treatment regimes, which in turn, lead to increased exposure of humans and pets to chemical residues. Alternatives to pesticides are needed. Studies have shown that BDT’s are attracted to dog odor, a blend of volatile chemicals used by ticks to find a blood meal.

In this study, Dr. Weeks will identify the chemicals BDT’s use to locate a dog. This will enable manipulation of tick behavior thereby facilitating management and reducing the need for extensive use of pesticides. Improved tick control without the need for increased environmental pesticide applications will improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners.”