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Main Content

Tick Geography 101

Where do ticks live? Each species that affects our fur kids has a different geographic distribution. The main ticks that affect dogs and cats include the American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the Brown Dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the Deer tick or Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). These ticks are found throughout the U.S., except Alaska.
Deer tick or Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)

The tick that’s most famous is the Deer tick due to its ability to transmit Lyme disease. It can also transmit Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. This tick is predominantly found along the East coast. It moves westward, extending to the southern region of eastern half of the Midwest and all around the Great Lakes in the northern region. The adult host is the Whitetail deer, but it can bite people and dogs.
American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

The American dog tick has a wide distribution to the east of the Rocky Mountains. It also is present in western California. This tick can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia. It can also cause tick paralysis. Adults prefer dogs, but can bite people too.
Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum)

The lone star tick is mostly east like the Deer Tick with distributions from southern Maine to the South and through the eastern halves of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and encompassing most of Iowa and Illinois. This tick can carry the agents of Erhlichosis, Cytauxzoonosis in cats, and tularemia. You can tell the females apart by the white spot on her back. This tick affects dogs and cats as well as people.
Brown Dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

This tick has the widest distribution encompassing all continental 48 states and Hawaii. Dogs are the primary host but the tick can bite people and other animals. This tick can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever (in southwestern U.S.), Ehrlichiosis, Canine babesiosis, Hepatozoonosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Tick control is so important. These pests have a wide distribution and can cause diseases in both our fur kids and our two-legged family members.

To learn more about tick distribution throughout the U.S., visit www.CDC.gov/text/geographic_distribution.html and www.capcvet.org