Tick Disease in Dogs

The tick disease may designate a number of diseases that can be transmitted through a tick bite including the lyme disease, the Rocky mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis or basesiosis. These diseases may be severe if treatment is not administered in a timely manner, so the early detection and removal of ticks is essential.

Symptoms of Tick Diseases

The tick diseases may cause several symptoms such as:

  • Refusal to eat leading to weight loss
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal and ocular discharges
  • Nose bleeds
  • Vomiting (yellow liquid, which is the bile)
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological symptoms (seizures, confusion, compulsive chewing of fur)
  • Edema or swelling of the limbs
  • Arthritis or lameness
  • Pale gums and discolored nose
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Liver or kidney dysfunction or even failure
  • Increased thirst and more frequent urination

These symptoms may be more subtle in some dogs. You should always check your dog’s skin for ticks, especially if you go on trips or live in a mountainous area. The sooner you detect the tick, the bigger the chances your dog is not infected with a tick disease.

Diagnosing Tick Diseases

Ideally, the tick should be removed immediately and this will less likely cause a tick disease. However, if your pet displays symptoms that may point to a tick disease, you should get to a vet; the vet will perform a few tests such as a complete blood count. If the dog is affected by a tick disease, the hemoglobin and the globulin levels will be very low and the liver, kidney and pancreatic enzymes will be elevated.

The vet may also use PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing on the tick, as the tick may help the vet identify the diseases it may have transmitted to the dog. After removing the tick, seal it in a jar or a Ziploc bag and take it to the vet, indicating the day when it was extracted. Be careful when handling the tick, as you may also get infected with the lyme disease. Wear surgical gloves at all times.

Treating Tick Diseases

The tick should be removed as soon as possible. This can be done using a pair of sterilized tweezers.

The treatment of the tick diseases will depend on the disease that affects the dog. Most typically, the dog will receive antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxyciline. For dogs infected with Basesiosis, the vet will recommend Imizol. These medications may be administered orally or intravenously.

Preventive Measures

To prevent tick diseases you should avoid areas where tick may be present. You may also get a few products that may prevent the tick bites. Frontline is a broadly used product that may prevent other parasite bites as well.

Preventic is a tick collar that may be worn by your pet on a daily basis; opt for this collar if you live in an area where ticks are frequent.