Ticks can carry loads of infectious bacteria, many of which are zoonotic, meaning those same ticks can infect humans in your household as well. The most widely known tick-borne disease is Lyme. While not as prevalent in our area as some others, it can still be around. Lyme disease may cause symptoms such as swollen, painful joints, lack of appetite, and lethargy. There have also been some studies showing links between lyme disease and increased risk for heart disease and kidney disease.
Dogs can also become infected with anaplasmosis, which can cause high fevers, stiffness, vomiting, and even seizures in some cases.
Ehrlichiosis is another disease transmitted by ticks. This disease can progress through 3 different phases if untreated, and can be deadly. Early signs are usually fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy, and will start to appear between 1 and 3 weeks after tick exposure.
These are just a few of the many tick-borne diseases.
The good news is that many of these illnesses are treatable with antibiotics, but prevention is always the best medicine. Check your dog for ticks after any trips outside in bushes or long grasses. Ticks like to find convenient hiding places like between toes, inside ears, and under armpits. If you find a tick, prompt and proper removal is key. The best thing is to have a tool designed for tick removal, ask us about that is you don't have one, or a pair of fine tweezers. If using tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull upward with even pressure, making sure not to grasp too firmly, it is important that the head does not get crushed, and that the entire tick comes out intact. You can always bring your dog in to us at the clinic too for tick removal :) Read more about checking your dog for ticks
The other important thing to do for prevention is to have your pet on an anti-parasitic treatment protocol. Guidelines for this will vary depending on your animal and their lifestyle, so check with us next time you are in, give us a call, or contact us online.
You can also check out a selection of large animal anti-parasitics available online.
Pet Health Network has some great info for pet owners about ticks.
And there is an interactive map available online that shows prevalence of
certain diseases in your area.