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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Importance of Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Greyhound Kennels in Florida

Author
item Allan, Sandra

Submitted to: American Heartworm Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2002
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
Citation: ALLAN, S.A. IMPORTANCE OF TICKS AND TICK-BORNE DISEASES IN GREYHOUND KENNELS IN FLORIDA. American Heartworm Society. 2002.p.67-75.

Interpretive Summary: The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and the associated tick-borne diseases, canine babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis have been previously reported as problems in greyhound kennels in Florida. However, little is known of the extent of problems associated with the brown dog tick, and common control methods used. The goal of this study was to determine the extent and impact of tick-related problems in greyhound kennels. This goal was achieved using mail-in surveys. One survey was targeted towards kennel owners/managers and another towards veterinarians associated with greyhound care. Over 53% of owners and over 18% of veterinarians responded. Tick problems were reported in over 91% of the kennels with problems worst in summer. The most common active ingredients used to treat kennels were organophosphates and carbamates (82.5%). Dogs were most often treated with permethrin, other pyrethroids, malathion and carbaryl. Impending loss of registration of organophosphates and carbamates by EPA (under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996) will profoundly affect affordable tick control in the greyhound industry. Both kennel personnel (>80%) and veterinarians (>69%) believed that tick infestations had negative effects on greyhound health. The most common tick-related disease in greyhounds diagnosed or treated by veterinarians was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and tick-related anemia.

Technical Abstract: Both canine babesiosis, caused by Babesia canis, and canine ehrlichiosis, caused by Ehrlichia canis have been reported repeatedly from greyhounds in Florida with one study reporting that 46% of greyhounds were seropositive for Babesia canis. The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, a vector of both B. canis and E. canis, is very common throughout the state of Florida. The goal of this study was to determine the extent and impact of tick-related problems in greyhound kennels in Florida. Tick problems were those instances when it was felt that intervention was required. This was approached by preparing mail-in surveys for kennel owners/managers and for veterinarians. In addition, ticks were collected from greyhound kennels and greyhounds. Surveys prepared for owners/managers of greyhound kennels assessed tick control strategies, their success and awareness of tick-borne diseases on health of their dogs. Surveys for veterinarians assessed the extent of tick problems, tick control strategies and the extent of tick borne-diseases in greyhound kennels. Over 53% of owners/managers surveyed, representing 5,963 greyhounds, completed and returned questionnaires. Over 18% of the veterinarians surveyed completed questionnaires and represented an estimated 4,919 greyhounds/year. Each clinic represented an average of 56 greyhound kennels. The origin of tick infestation and tick-borne disease in kennels is unclear, however, one source may be the introduction of infested and/or infected dogs. Over 92% of kennels brought dogs in from other states, the majority of which came from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. Tick problems were reported in over 91% of kennels with problems worst in the summer. The most common active ingredients used for tick control in kennels were organophosphates and carbamates (82.5%). Dogs were most often treated for tick control with permethrin, other pyrethroids, malathion and carbaryl. The impending loss of registration of organophosphates and carbamates by EPA (under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996) due to concerns of human exposure will profoundly affect affordable tick control in the greyhound industry. Both ticks and tick-borne diseases were considered serious threats to greyhound health or performance. Most kennel personnel (>80%) and veterinarians (>60%) believed that tick infestations had negative effects on greyhound health. The most common tick-related disease in greyhounds diagnosed or treated by veterinarians was canine babesiosis followed by Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick-related anemia. Over 51% of veterinarians believed that ticks or tick-borne diseases affected the racing potential of greyhounds and 40% believed that canine babesiosis was a significant health problem for greyhounds. All believed that canine babesiosis was underdiagnosed. All of the ticks collected from greyhound kennels and dogs were Rhipicephalus sanguineus.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014