Image from Pennsylvania Dept. of Health
The mention of ticks in Sunday, a day of rest, got a lot of comments, including several private emails. I thought I would share the information with you, protecting the privacy of those who wrote, of course. Believe me, I understand tick shame. ;-)
From Costa Rica: I am going to pitch in with my suggestion Ivomec (since you already tried something for cattle this won't shock you) , these are shots, very simple to apply, you merely lift their skin push the needle past the skin and let the liquid in (its not intramuscular.....those are scary for me to do myself)
We just went through the same thing with our dogs. We dipped them in "Taktic" and then sprayed our yard with "Control24". After the dip you could watch the hundreds of ticks racing to get off the dogs. For days we found ticks everywhere! But like one of your other readers said, they didn't seem to be interested in us.
I notice that nothing we used "killed" them. It just seemed to make them want to leave the dogs and whatever area was sprayed (sorry neighbors!!)If anyone has anything that will kill them I would love to know about it.
Right now our weather is a little cooler so there are fewer ticks. I think it is the climate. We have always had dogs and have NEVER had a problem like this. Ticks can cause anemia in your dogs so be careful. We saw such a difference in our dogs after the ticks were gone. They were so much more playful and active. It had happened so slowly we had not even realized how lethargic they had become.
From Costa Rica:
I have periodic tick explosions at my house and I control them by using Banol. Yes, it's a chemical, comes in a little brown bottle and you mix it with water.
I bathe the dogs and then sponge this all over them. I use a syringe to get in between their paws and a cotton swab to do their ears and face. I also use a pesticide in a pump spray to treat the yard.
Once they were so bad, I took the dogs in to get a shot for them for ticks. It's in my blog. If you're interested, I'll dig it up and send you the names. Pura Vida
From the Island of Guanaja, Honduras:
Don't worry about natural solutions until later! Get some good spray and spray the house all around the outside and make up a bottle and do it inside - the only way you will get rid of these nasty things.
The ticks can cause brown tick disease (which my dogs just went through) and if you catch it in the first or second stage your dog will live; the third stage the dog is doomed and nothing can be done.
Twice a year give your dogs the following for 21 days - this will help them over any tick borne disease. The medicine is Doxyciclina hyclate and you can buy a brand name: Doxybay (100 mg. tablets). Check with your vet as to the dosage but do it. With the number of ticks your dogs have.....you need to protect the dogs who may already have the disease. The disease cannot always be determined by a blood test - although vets will take blood to see if the dog has it. The Doxyciclina will not hurt your dog - only help. We on the island now give the stuff twice a year whether we see ticks or not and whether the dogs have a lot or not. Just good, sound preventive measures.
Now, once you have sprayed the house with a good tick spray - especially the outside - feel free to find a natural alternative to keep them at bay. But the ticks are there now - they are nesting and will continue to bred and produce and infect. You must spray outside at least twice a week for a month - inside once and then once more three days later.
I have a really sick dog right now and we've been treating her for two months. She lost more than 1/2 her body weight and we are slowly nursing her back. She has no appetite and I have to cook for her to coax her to eat.
DO NOT IGNORE THIS - get the medicine, give it to the dogs and spray.
I was going to mention guinea fowl but somebody beat me to it! We had six of them on our farm that patrolled a 2 acre yard. I could not believe how effective they were. We never got a tick on us or the dogs after that. But they are a noisy bird as they roost at night and make excellent "watch birds" too as they sound an alarm if a stranger comes into their territory. They are also very fragile. Do some research on them and I bet you have some soon. Much better than the chickens you have for combating pests.
From the Island of Utila, Honduras:
My wife and I just had the same -censored- tick problem on Ella the Dog. Ella is a good mix and had long hair. Every day I am doing a tick check all over her.
Some days I could pick of 20 ticks and it just never stopped.... Then we went up to the vets here on Utila and they kindly let us use their shaver. After 30 minutes of shaving, Ella lost all her long hair!
She was jumping around soooo happy afterwards, she is just like me, happy with short hair. She looked kind of funny for a while, but what the heck, now I was able to find every bloodsucking tick on her.
This resulted in almost no ticks very shortly after. She is now a happy dog. My advise to you is to get a shaver for your dogs, and shave them all. Here in the hot climate hair is just trouble.
From North Carolina, US:
We had the worst tick season ever in N.C. last spring/summer. We also use Frontline, but as mishik said, it doesn't help get rid of them, just keeps them from reproducing. Our vet recommended the Preventic collar, and it really helped a lot. They are expensive, but they last for 3 months. Also, we saw a lot on the internet that said Guinea fowl eat ticks and a few can keep a large area stripped of ticks. They also produce good eggs. Maybe you could add a couple to your menagerie?
Brenda, who has no personal tick shame so I can mention her name, sent me a link to a Sonora, Mexico, forum discussion of ticks.
From Maryland, US:
Man, I hate ticks. You can try putting garlic powder and brewers yeast (if you can find it) in their food every day. It won't get rid of all the ticks, but they don't care for the taste, so it should cut down on it some. The frontline isn't supposed to kill ticks and fleas, just make them infertile. If you only tried it for a few weeks, you might want to try it again for a longer period of time.
From Sonora, Mexico:
Hi, you asked about a tick solution - well, the ticks are really bad here in Sonora, Mexico. I have two US pound puppy type dogs. One is a Beagle cross and the ticks don't bother her too much. The other gal is a lab/rott/who knows what else cross and she has always been a tick factory. When you posted about your tick problems I was just a month into our experiment so couldn't swear it worked.
I read somewhere that giving the dogs garlic would control the ticks. I had plenty of Tone brand powdered garlic from the states, we began to put 1/2 tsp daily in each dog's feed. They love it and it's probably been close to two months and for the first time the big gal is free of ticks. I had used flea/tick collars, Advantage and the other popular brand (the name escapes me) and LOL I think they served as fertilizer.
I like the garlic and brewers yeast idea! Thanks to everyone for your ideas, but I really am looking for a natural control. I don't believe there is a final solution as there will always be ticks, so I just can't justify dousing my garden, house, and animals in chemicals for the rest of our lives.
Now, does anyone have any idea what brewer's yeast would be called in Honduras or where I might find it?
I've read mixed reviews on the once-a-month Revolution with some swearing it is effective for ticks and others nay saying. Our vet was the one who suggested the cattle dip, so I don't know if the shots or any of the other recommendations (for dogs) are available here. I might talk to him again but we have a major difference of opinion about what are 'safe chemicals' and what are not. He believes that the chemicals wouldn't be on the market if they weren't safe. Not me. There have been plenty of chemicals taken off the market after years of use and I'm sure there will be many more.
I'm not going to spray the inside of my house with poison! Never! I also believe that spraying the garden is a waste of time, too, since we have so many birds, toads, and other assorted animals visiting. I've seen ticks on the toads so I know they bring them in. There are livestock nearby as well so I don't think that there are enough chemicals in the world to make my garden 100% tick free.
The time I relented and sprayed the garden with chemicals (I think it was Asuntol), we continued for at least two months, but as soon as we stopped, the ticks were back again in full force. The same goes with the other things we tried. My dog started having convulsions after we started dipping her in the chemicals. She was 16 years old so it might not have been related, but I always wonder.
I would also like to try diatomaceous earth but I don't know if it is sold here. We've asked around and no one knows what we are talking about. The flea comb works well at removing the ticks on their backs and chest. I've seen a definite reduction in the past week.
I like the idea of the guinea fowl, too. I have read that they are effective at reducing the tick population. I'm working on El Jefe now. ;-) He thinks they are ugly and noisy. I've also read that they make excellent guard birds, believe it or not. So that would give Chloe a backup on guard duty.
The chickens peck around on the terraza where Chloe spends most of her time. Either they are finding ticks or eating ants but they haven't shown much interest in ants when I've been watching so maybe that is the reason that Chloe has fewer ticks than the Chihuahuas.
Thanks again, everyone, for your ideas.