American Dog Tick
Vector of Disease
Dermacentor variabilis is the most common vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). RMSF is a potentially fatal rickettsial disease of dogs and humans caused by the intracellular bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The pathogen has been reported throughout the USA, Central and South America. Besides ticks of the genus Dermacentor the different species of the genera Rhipicephalus and Amblyomma are also capable to transmit the pathogen.
This tick species can also transmit tularemia (hunter's disease).
Furthermore toxins found in the saliva of the American Dog tick, which are injected during feeding, are the causative agents of tick paralysis in dogs.
Apparently, it plays no significant role in the transmission of Lyme disease and babesiosis.