Avoid Ticks on Pets!
That means warm weather, swimming, snow cones and ticks. Yes ticks. Ticks thrive in warmer weather and generally stick around until September. Are your furry friends protickeded?
There are many types of ticks, which can carry many types of diseases. The most common ticks in our region are the Deer Tick, Dog Tick and the Lone Star Tick.
The most common diseases these pesky guys carry are Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
- Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi and most commonly found in Deer Ticks. Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through a tick bite. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints. Symptoms can include arthritis, swollen joints, fatigue, fever and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Canine anaplasmosis comes in two forms, Anaplasma phagocytophilumis- an infection of the white blood cells, most commonly found in Deer Ticks and Anaplasma platys- an infection in the blood platelets most commonly found in the Brown Dog Tick. This condition most commonly causes a high fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, swollen joints and neck pain. In extreme cases; dogs may develop seizures and other brain disorders, nosebleeds, bruising or even death.
Canine Ehrlichiosis comes in three stages. The first or acute stage can last up to a month causing fever depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, joint pain, stiffness and bruises. The second or subclinical phase causes the same symptoms as the acute phase, but the infection has moved from the white blood cells to the liver. It can live in the liver for months to years before moving to the final stage. The final or chronic stage can be mild or severe causing weight loss, anemia, neurological signs, bleeding, inflammation of the eye, edema (fluid accumulation) in the hind legs, and fever.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by the bacteria Rickettsia. Rickettsia is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. Rickettsia attacks the blood cells, liver, kidneys, nervous system and blood vessels. Symptoms include fever, depression, dehydration, weight loss, abdominal pain and more.
Scary stuff, certainly. The good news is that with early detection and treatment, you and your vet can usually prevent tick bites from becoming fatal. Some ticks are easy to find, so do a regular visual examination, especially after your dog romps through wooded areas.
If you find a tick – soak a cotton swab in mineral oil and hold it against the tick for 30 seconds, causing it to ease its grip on your dog’s skin. Then use a pair of tweezers – not your fingers — to squeeze the skin around the tick, grabbing the tick’s head. Pull the tick away from the skin, and then clean the area with rubbing alcohol. There may be some redness for a day or two, but it should subside.
Click here for 10 tips to stop ticks from biting your dogs.
How do you protick your furry friends?