This study, conducted from December 2009 to March 2010, has been looking at the occurrence of ticks in dogs and exotic animals and the use of tick-prevention agents in dogs on Curaçao. The aims of this study were: the determination of the risk of the tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus and the pathogens he carries for the dog on the island of Curaçao and the determination of the occurrence of ticks in exotic animals on the island of Curaçao and what the health risks are for the exotic animals.
The tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus is a tick belonging to the family of Ixodidae. This tick is host specific for the dog and a known vector of Erlichia canis and Babesia vogeli. These pathogens can cause erlichiosis and babesiosis in dogs.
In exotic animals, different species of ticks are found, namely Amblyomma spp. and Hyalomma spp.. Ticks in exotic animals are relatively common and severe infections can lead to anemia.
In this study ticks have been collected from dogs and exotic animals. All ticks were sent to the Netherlands in containers with 70% ethanol for later determination of the species, sex and examination for pathogens. Surveys of 41 dog owners were conducted with questions concerning tick-prevention agents.
In the examined dogs on the island of Curaçao only the tick species Rhipicephalus sanguineus has been found. It has not yet been investigated which pathogens are found in the ticks.
In total 1071 ticks were found on 56 dogs, the mean number per dog being 19,1. The used tick-prevention agents on Curacao are: Frontline® spot on, Frontline® spray, Preventic band, Paramite dip, Ovitrol and Ivermectine. 90% of surveyed owners uses a preventive agent(s). The most commonly used preventic agent is Frontline® spot on, 19% of surveyed owners using this as a single agent.
Furthermore, 34% of surveyed owners treats the surroundings and 85% of the surveyed owners removes the ticks of the dog.
The survey shows that 63% of surveyed owners are satisfied with the effectiveness of the used preventive agents. The rest of the owners are dissatisfied (27%) or have no opinion (10%).
In the exotic animals ticks were only found in tortoises (species: Geochelone pardalis) and the iguana (species: Iguana iguana), in the other investigated animals (cows, horses, donkeys, ponies, goats, sheep, rabbits, tiger pythons and pigs) no ticks were found.
The ticks on the tortoises and iguanas were Amblyomma spp.. The type of species still has to be investigated. The numbers of ticks found on exotic animals ranged from one to thirteen ticks per animal. Those animals in which ticks were found showed no signs of disease. It has not yet been investigated whether these ticks carried pathogens.||