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    • A couple days ago my faithful hound and I were walking in the Baylands like we have 100 times before. He’s always on a long leash so he frequently runs through bushes on the side of the trail. I don’t remember seeing ticks on him from those walks.

      This time we were in the middle of nowhere and it was raining so no one was around. I, um, let him off leash in dog heaven. When we came home, doggie and I took a very thorough shower. No tick sightings so far.

    • Then we dried him with a towel and wet doggie plopped down on my side of the bed and snoozed. As he was sleeping and drying, then commenced the tick parade.

      So my wife and I began parting his fur, inspecting all the way to his skin. We found dozens. We’d put them in the toilet and about every dozen ticks, we’d flush. Hate to gross anyone out, but here’s what they look like (that’s a wad of yellow dog hair from brushing).

      I swear we inspected every millimeter of that dog and still the next day they would surface. In the middle of the night I caught one on my arm. This morning two scrambled up my neck.

      We washed bedding and clothes. Anyone have experience with something like this?

    • I'm not a tick expert and it's hard to tell from the photo (can you get a better one?), but those might be Rocky Mountain wood ticks or American dog ticks.

      Both can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, neither of which is something you want. I really think you should talk to a doctor about possible preventative measures you can take even if you're not feeling symptoms of anything yet. I'm no more a doctor than I am a tick expert, but it seems like an early round of antibiotics might be warranted.

    • Ticks were a common part of everyday experience when we lived in South-Central Texas. Disgusting, but something you just deal with, both on your animals and on yourself. So I'd had hundreds of tick bites in my lifetime, before the story I'm about to tell you, with no dire consequences. Until this time.

      A couple of years ago I went back home for a couple of weeks to help out after my 80yo dad's knee surgery. (By "help out" I mean, "sit on him, if necessary, to make him not do stuff before he's supposed to.")

      In an attempt to keep him in the house in his recliner, I went out and figured out how to use his mower, and mowed every blade of grass and weed in a 10-acre area around the house, so he'd have no excuse to be out there. (It didn't work. He snuck out and got on his bulldozer and went and did stuff out behind the barn where we wouldn't see him.) This was in August. In Texas. It was hot, and by the time I finished I was covered from head to toe in a solid layer of sweat, dust, and clippings. And, it turns out, at least one tick.

      The beastie managed to make its escape before I saw it, but I did notice the bite mark the next morning, only because for some reason the area of irritation took on an oddly square shape, which I thought was interesting. Nothing more than that. You go to Texas, stuff bites you. I'd already, in the span of a few days, been stung by a red wasp, several fire ants, and a number of mosquitoes. But it was square, which was kinda funny, so I laughed a little and Instagrammed it, and then promptly forgot all about it.

      Two weeks later I was home in WA, trying to catch up on the vacation backlog in my practice. I didn't feel good. I was TIRED. My brain didn't want to work. It was hard work to keep myself upright and functioning. And I had that "I'm getting sick" icky all over feeling. But I had a whole schedule full of psychiatric patients to see, so I just kept muscling through it, telling myself I was just tired from my trip.

      I wasn't.

      By the end of the week my temperature was spiking up to 105F and I felt HORRIBLE. I had chills and aches and a headache and nausea and weird random sharp pains here and there, and some little rashy-looking places on my neck, chest, and arms. Nothing spectacular. I tried to take a photo of it for my FNP (she's also a good friend, and I'm an NP too, so I get icky photo-sending privileges) , but it barely even showed up in the pictures, so I didn't bother.

      But I felt HORRIBLE. I canceled my appointments for the next week and went to see my FNP and she did some labs, and found my liver enzymes were elevated, which is weird for me. Everything else looked normal. I can't remember clearly now what she did for me at that point, other than a bunch more labs - blood cultures and such, and had me take Tylenol, etc. She kept checking in with me and trying to figure out what could be going on, but nothing was making sense. I went to the ED a couple of times; my fever just wouldn't come down, and I honestly felt like I was dying. The MDs didn't have any answers. The last time I went they gave me fluids and did some more blood work, and told me (again) it was just a virus and would have to run its course, and unhooked everything to send me home, and then my BP tanked and they had to hook everything back up again. But they still sent me home as soon as they could get me upright without passing out. :P

      My FNP, out of desperation, started me on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, but it didn't seem to help anything. By day 9 I was still getting worse; no improvement at all, other than the barely visible rash had long since vanished. I really thought I might be dying. That was the day my FNP texted me and said she thought I had Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and was calling in a prescription for doxycycline.

      She was right. One dose and I started improving dramatically. In no more than a couple of days I was completely recovered. When I was back on my feet, I Googled RMSF and found out 1) you don't necessarily get a rash with it, and 2) it kills people. Ack! Most fatalities, from what I read, happen between days 6 and 10. It's super easy to treat (unless, I suppose, you're deathly allergic to doxycycline or something); the problem is that it takes so long to diagnose that people die before the doctors figure it out. (I was at day 9, so I feel pretty lucky my FNP was smart enough to catch it!) Also, even though ticks are common in the part of Texas I was in, RMSF is *not*. So it was not really even on the diagnostic radar.

      So, I guess the moral of the story is, if you start running a fever or having other weird symptoms, don't wait to get seen, maybe opt for an FNP over an MD <g>, and raise the question of RMSF, to get it on the radar sooner than later. 'Cause even if you survive until later, it's no fun!

    • I had a similar experience a couple months back. I took River to one of the vineyards I manage so she could keep me company while I pruned the vines, and when I got her home I found a tick on her. After a thorough head-to-tail, I didn't see any more. Every few minutes, however, I'd find another one crawling on her. I'd search her again and come up empty, and then another would appear. Luckily she's mostly white, so the ticks were easy to spot once they were on top of her fur, but those little devils find places to hide and burrow in. By that night I pulled 11 off of her, and found another one on her the next day. None of them seemed to want to bite her, at least, which is probably thanks to the NexGard tablet that I give her each month.

    • Yep. This is gross. It sounds like you caught them moving on you, but not actually burrowing into your skin and feasting on your blood, right? If that's the case, then you're all good. So far.

      The CDC publishes a lovely handbook about tickborne diseases of the United States for health care providers. The first five pages are very approachable and have pictures of the ticks found in the US, the locations where the various type of ticks can be found, and maps showing the patterns for tickborne diseases across the US. (Important note: The maps reflect the home addresses of the people that have been bitten, not the location where they were bitten. I.e., a dot shown in California may mean that someone from California was infected while vacationing on the east coast.)

      The good news is that all tickborne illnesses are dramatically less common in the western United States. If you were my patient, I'd watch you carefully and have a very low threshold for treating you if you developed any fever, rash, malaise, or sudden aches and pains.

      Also, I'd tell you to stay away from ticks because they are disgusting and vile. And they feast on your blood. And they vomit under your skin and/or are decapitated when you try to forcibly remove them. And they transmit a host of infections with varied and often debilitating yet vague symptoms. And they are disgusting.

    • NexGard or any other similar pill function great. Some of the drugs I use for my pets are, Drontal Puppy, Endogard 30 and Meltra Brower. Since I live in Bogota, Colombia, the names could be different.

    • I live in Oklahoma where ticks are bad, real bad. What I've found that works is sulfer. After getting a zillion ticks on me I remembered something from years and years ago at Boy Scout summer camp. Sulfer in a sock!
      When you know your doing to be in tic territory, take an old sock, fill it with sulfer dust, the kind you get at a gardening store, then dust your lower legs and arms and whatever else. (including private parts).
      Yes I am aware the sulfer dust now days has a warning on it to "avoid skin contact". Honestly I would rather risk it than get tics on me.
      The sulfer helps with "chiggers" also.

    • I use K9 Advantix. So far, so good. I also don’t use it all year as they suggest since it’s nasty stuff and since sooner or later, it may stop working.

      The other thing that helps is a Furminator. Brush after exposure.

    • Wow, thanks for all the info and scary stories! 😬 My wife and I were camping perhaps 10 years ago and she woke up with a tick burrowed in her and what looked like it could be a bullseye. It was a ring of red around the bite, maybe just regular inflammation, I dunno. Our doc friend who was there sent her off the mountain to urgent care where they gave her an antibiotic. She escaped without getting sick.

      For the dog, she uses the stuff in the pic below 8 months of the year (not in winter). My understanding is it's like K9 Advantix, a repellent for ticks, fleas, heartworm, etc. Apparently toxic for cats. So perhaps what is happening is the ticks get on Bodi, don't like the repellent, and since he sleeps pressed against me, I'm their refuge.

      I don't know why after a 2-day siege I don't seem to have any tick bites. They just hiked around on my skin. Bodi's meds are supposed to wreck their nervous systems so they don't bite, so maybe by the time they got to me they were just there to try and walk things off? They sure seemed to move well when I caught them.

    • As someone who has endured multiple tick bites, it is critcal to avoid Lyme disease, especially late stage. If not treated in the early stages, there's a chance you will develop terminal health problems that dramatically alter the rest of your life for the worse. It's a nasty disease. Avoid tick bites, that's the only way a tick will give it to you.

      Even with extreme caution, if you spend enough time outside, you'll probably get bitten by ticks. Most tick bites will not get you infected.

      It's important to know that you only have a chance of contracting lyme disease if:
      1. It's a deer (blacklegged) tick, the only species that carries lyme disease.
      2. It's biting for 24+hours. It takes time for them to cut a hole in your skin to contact your blood stream without causing you to bleed 🤮

      Chris, now that your house is infested with ticks, my advice: Constantly check yourself for ticks bites. If bitten, remove it ASAP.

      If you are bitten by a black legged tick for more than 24 hours or unsure about the length of time, consult a doctor and monitor yourself for a bulleye rash.

    • she woke up with a tick burrowed in her and what looked like it could be a bullseye. It was a ring of red around the bite, maybe just regular inflammation, I dunno

      That's scary, luckily she got antibiotics right away. I believe a bullseye around a bite is enough to confidently diagnose Lyme disease, though without the rash and lack of antibodies it can be extremely hard to identify **NOT ADVICE, I'M NOT A DOCTER** It's scary that our furry friends can also contract lyme disease.

      My pup get ticks crawling around her on forrest hikes. Has anyone tried a flea and tick collar?

    • The flea and tick collars aren't that effective. Plus, if your pup is a chewer or around other dogs who are, probably not the best thing in either case.

    • Ah, good to know.

      My brother swears by them. He uses the collar on his border collie who is on tick-infested ranch land multiple days a week. Going to try your recommendations first.

    • Found this black-legged tick burrowing in my belly-button a few hours after a hike in the nor-cal woods last week. I'm sure it was borrowing less than 2 hours. Followed CDC recommendation on tick removal. No rash and no fever since, though still monitoring. Should I worry?

      I'm pretty sure it came from my dog. I thoroughly checked myself after the hike, and found no ticks. I specifically remember no tick or bite on my belly button. A couple hours later in bed, I got an extreme itch in my belly button. My pup was sleeping right next to me.

    • Update: so diligent and thorough were we, our home became tick-free after a couple of days. Or so we thought.

      We didn’t see any for 2 days and jetted off to New York for 5. When we returned, Toni opened her book and this lively little fellow emerged. He looks black in real life.

    • Okay, one. Hidden in a book. Whatever.

      Then I pulled back the covers and this frisky girl appeared. My theory is after the shower, the dog rolled around on the carpet and they made a temporary home there.