Dog Tick Disease Symptoms

Tick disease usually occurs in dogs when they spend most of their time in areas populated by ticks, mainly in forests, shrubs, tall grass and by the water. Ticks can cause a variety of diseases, and some of these can be lethal.

Types of Tick Disease

Four diseases caused by tick bites have a greater incidence: ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and Lyme disease. The first three can be lethal if not diagnosed and treated in time.

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection caused by ehrlichia, a bacteria transmitted by tick. Babesiosis is a parasitic disease caused by babesia, one of the most common parasites to be found in the bloodstream of mammals. RMSF is the most common and the most lethal illness caused by bacteria called rickettsia, while Lyme disease is caused by the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. It is important to make a correct diagnosis of the disease in order to provide the proper treatment.

Dog Tick Disease Symptoms

When suffering from tick disease, your dog will exhibit a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (mostly bile)
  • Depression, lethargy
  • Seizures and other neurological disorders
  • Swollen limbs and joints
  • Exhaustion, loss of vigor, muscle weakness
  • Nasal discharge and nosebleeds
  • Skin and ear infections resistant to common treatment
  • Eyes problems: dilated pupils, sensibility to light, even hemorrhages
  • Change of nose, gums, tongue color
  • Incontinence
  • Dehydration, thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Spontaneous hemorrhaging and blood clotting problems

Since there are more bacteria which cause tick diseases, the symptoms can vary from dog to dog and it's most likely that the dog does not have them all. In some cases, symptoms show only when the disease is in an advanced stage. Remember that the symptoms are common to the four diseases mentioned above and it is very important to have your pet checked by a veterinarian. Tick disease can lead to further unwanted complications such as liver failure, kidney failure or prostate infections. Tick disease symptoms might resemble signs of other medical conditions.

Prevention of Dog Tick Disease

The best solution to avoid tick diseases in your dog is to keep him away from tick-prone areas such as forests, parks, low shrubs and tall grass. This recommendation might be difficult to follow since it is vital for a dog to spend time outdoors.

Therefore, try to check your pet for ticks every day, examining the skin surface carefully with a comb. The time for the bacteria to enter the blood flow varies depending on the different types of ticks and the bacteria they are carrying. Sometimes it only takes a few hours for the diseases to enter the blood flow, so it is imperative that you find and remove the tick as soon as possible.

Another preventive measure is putting a tick collar around your dog's neck. Tick collars contain a substance, amitraz, which spreads all over your dog's body and will mix with natural body oils. This substance is also bad for your dog, so make sure the dog is not ingesting it.