Ticks are external parasites under the classification of arachnids and have been around for millions of years. They attach themselves to possible hosts such as mammals and birds and feed on their blood to survive. They thrive in a warm climate that is why tick infestations often happen, but not isolated, during summer
Dogs are the most common carriers of ticks because they are mobile and most of the time have enough fur for these parasites to hold onto. They multiply quite quickly that is why the need to exterminate them immediately is crucial.
Like all pests, ticks should be eradicated from your pet’s life or even from your home at the earliest sign of presence. This is because they pass on a whole range of diseases that can make your dogs sick. These diseases are not to be ignored because most, if not all, of them, can put your dog’s life in danger.
Below are 5 Tick-Borne diseases that are dangerous to your dog.
This disease is from the organism Ehrlichia Canis transmitted through the bite of a brown dog tick. When bitten by this infected tick, the dog can start manifesting symptoms between 1 to 3 weeks after. Dogs with compromised health can experience more severe signs because of the disease’s ability to corrupt monocytes, or white blood cells responsible for maintaining the immune system. Symptoms that you should look out for are fever, fatigue, disorders of the eye, and problems in the nervous system, among others.
Veterinarians use doxycycline treatment for 3 to 4 weeks. However, for more severe cases, blood transfusion and IV treatment are already required.
Babesiosis is transmitted to a dog through a tick-bite. To enable the parasite to pass the disease, it would require 2 to 3 days for it to be attached to the host’s skin. It can also be passed from one canine to another through a dog bite. Oddly enough, a pregnant bitch can share the disease through its placenta to her puppies.
This disease attacks the dog’s red blood cells. Considering the dog’s system response is to attack and kill parasites, the RBC is also destroyed with it. This eventually leads to severe anemia which should be treated using blood transfusion. After which, supportive care and maintenance are necessary for the dog. Medicines such as steroids and antioxidants will be prescribed by the veterinarian to prevent relapse.
This disease is most common in the north-eastern part and mid-Atlantic area of the United States of America. It is transmitted by the black-legged tick or most commonly known as the deer tick. For it to be able to pass on the bacteria, it needs to stay bound to the dog (or its host) for 12 to 24 hours.
Signs that the dog is infected include chills, lameness, joint pain, and muscle pain. They can also lose their appetite and will be weak while the disease progresses. Veterinarians prescribe antibiotic treatment for 2-4 weeks to battle Anaplasmosis.
There is a more severe strain of this bacterium that affects the cells in the blood that causes clotting, or the platelets. Alarming signs such as nose bleeding and bruising can be observed and should be given attention as soon as possible.
- Lyme Disease
This is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease, just like Anaplasmosis, is passed on through the bite of the deer tick and would need 24 to 48 hours to successfully transfer it. If you live near areas with grasses, forests, and even the park, you should always be on the lookout for these parasites in your dog’s fur.
A dog infected with this disease would display signs of weakness, enlarged lymph nodes, inflamed joints, and lameness. Although it takes a prolonged period of time for the symptoms to show, it needs to be treated immediately because of its potency to damage the heart, kidneys, and nervous system of the dog. This can progress to being fatal and immediate treatment is necessary.
What separates Hepatozoonis from the first four diseases we have mentioned earlier is that this tick-borne illness is transmitted when an infected parasite is ingested. This is commonly carried by the Gulf Coast Tick.
Although remission of the sickness can happen, sadly, dogs cannot be completely cured of it. The acute phase of the illness would require treatment through medicine to get it under control. After which, long-term medication will be needed for maintenance. Signs include bloody diarrhea, weight loss, eye discharge, muscle weakness, and atrophy.
The idea of having your dog infected by any of these tick-borne diseases is a nightmare. It is vital to check your dog for any signs of ticks and remove it immediately. There are anti-tick powder and sprays available in your local pet shop. If your neighborhood is located in a place where ticks can breed easily, protect your furkid as early as possible. Like they always say, “Prevention is better than cure.”