Tick trivia: A clinical quiz

Tick trivia: A clinical quiz

Test your knowledge of these little suckers and the diseases they transmit.
Figure 1

1) A 2-year-old intact female domestic shorthaired cat from central Arkansas is presented to the veterinarian because it is experiencing lethargy, a loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. On physical examination, the cat is jaundiced, moderately dehydrated, and running a fever (104.3 F [40.2 C]). An examination of a Giemsa-stained blood smear reveals the organisms seen in Figure 1 (arrows). What treatment recommendation would you make?

A. None. Instead recommend that the cat be euthanized for humane reasons since this disease is invariably fatal in cats.

B. Atovaquone and azithromycin

C. Doxycycline


2) A 5-year-old neutered male Brittany spaniel from Virginia is presented to the veterinarian lying on its side. The dog is alert and responsive but is breathing rapidly and unable to rise. A physical examination reveals an engorged female Dermacentor variabilis tick attached to the left side of the dog's neck, and a diagnosis of tick paralysis is suspected. The tick is removed by using forceps. If the suspected diagnosis is correct, what is the most likely outcome for this dog?

A. Worsening paralysis and possibly death within 24 to 48 hours

B. Permanent neurologic deficits due to toxins injected by the feeding tick

C. Recovery to full normal function within a few hours


Figure 2
Figure 3

3) A 4-month-old intact male kitten from Pennsylvania that is allowed indoors and outdoors presents to the veterinarian with several small, attached ticks around its eyes. The ticks are removed and examined under a microscope, as seen in Figures 2 and 3. What are they?

A. Ixodes scapularis nymphs

B. Amblyomma americanum adults

C. Dermacentor variabilis larvae

Susan E. Little, DVM, PhD, DEVPC

This quiz was provided by Susan E. Little, DVM, PhD, DEVPC, a professor and endowed chair in veterinary parasitology at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.

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