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TDK conference 2018

Examination of ultrasonic tick repeller on ticks, dogs and horses
Hatvani Anna - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Parasitology and Zoology
Supervisor: Dr. Gábor Földvári


Humanity has been looking for solutions to keep ticks away for a long time. Various formulations are available on the market but there was a great claim for a product which is effective for a long time period and does not emit any chemicals. In accordance with these expectations the first ultrasonic repellent device was developed, the efficacy of which was based on a research published in the 1990's, in which ultrasound was effective against some agricultural pests.

In our research we made laboratory and animal experiments (dogs and horses) in order to find answer whether this type of repellent is really effective against ticks and (whether) there is a behavioural sign that the animal is disturbed by the ultrasound.

Ultrasonic tick repellers have been in circulation for many years in Hungary but the effectiveness of these devices has not been tested in Hungary yet and just few studies were made in this topic abroad too.

During our laboratory observations and tests distribution of ticks in the experimental area both in presence of repellent and in case of negative control was similar. The experiment, to which Dermacentor reticulatus males and females were used, was based on a two-meter long special questing arena made of sandy, wet soil and rods replacing grass in the natural habitat of ticks.

In our animal experiment 35 dogs and 27 horses altogether were examined from the end of September 2017 until the end of September 2018. Ticks were found in seven of 26 dogs wearing ultrasonic devices, 42 specimens in total. Nineteen ticks were found in the four of nine negative control dogs. When 15 horses were examined with repellent, five ticks were found in two horses, and among the 12 negative control horses, nine parasites were found in three horses. According to owners we found three dogs, who might have been disturbed in some way by ultrasound, because they lost their devices within 2-3 days. Altogether 75 ticks were collected by owners participated in the experiment by which we made species determination. In horses thirteen, in dogs 38 Ixodes ricinus (14 males, 37 females) and in horses one, in dogs 23 D. reticulatus (eight males, 16 females) were found.

Based on our observations and experiments the ultrasonic device is ineffective in keeping ticks away. Since it seems that the device worked well at some subjects, more investigations are required to know which specific properties of the animal can influence effect of the device.

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