Tick Diseases In Dogs

You might think because ticks are so small they won’t affect you and your dog, but tick diseases in dogs can be a real pain in the life of your pet if you let them bite. As scary as that may sound, don’t be afraid, there are various ways you can protect your pet from ticks.

Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of an animal usually considered the host. For dogs common ectoparasites of there are ticks. The frequency at which you see tick in dogs and how much they have depends on some certain factors like which part of the country you are located, the time of the year (tick activity vary in warm and cool seasons), the kind of habits your dog has and finally how and when you use tick control products on your dog. Ticks occur on dogs who spend brief amounts of time outside and even on dogs who are indoor pets.

Ticks on dogs

Tick Diseases In Dogs; how they occur

Ticks host on to dogs by biting them and inserting their mouths into their skin. Some ticks also produce a glue-like substance which helps them have a stronger attachment to their hosts. The instance ticks attach themselves to dogs they start to feast on your dog’s blood, thereby making that point of attachment red and irritated. Ticks diseases in dogs can cause your dog to have several diseases like in some rare cases female ticks cause rare paralysis, another rare disease ticks give the dog is anemia which is as a result of blood deficiency. The most harmful tick diseases in dogs are Lyme disease, another is the Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of joints which can result to lameness, while the Rocky Mountain fever can cause fever, lameness and other signs. There are many other tick diseases in dogs.  Local veterinarian is best to know the tick diseases prominent in your locality.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs

Lyme disease symptoms in dogs can take between 1 to 3 weeks or even longer or appear after a tick bite infection. The common symptoms of Lyme disease on dogs include;

Arthritis that may cause lameness as a result of swollen joints.
• Fever
• Anorexia, which is a lack of appetite
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Lethargy
• Depression

Tick on dogs which results in the Lyme disease can cause them (dogs) to have recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. In some cases, the lameness lasts for a short period of 3-4 days but reoccurs later in that leg or another leg. At a time, one or more joints may be swollen, warm and painful.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause damage to the heart, nervous system and kidneys of your dog. Dogs chronically infested with the Lyme disease often develop a life threatening form of kindly inflammation and dysfunction called the Lyme nephropathy or Lyme nephritis. This condition is as a result of an abnormal immune response which may lead to kidney failure.

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in dogs

Some of the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever as a result of ticks on dogs include;
• Depression
• Lethargy
• Anorexia
• Blood in the urine
• Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
• Discolored spots along the skin, often bruised or purplish in color
• Inability to walk normally, loss of coordination (ataxia)
• Swelling or edema (fluid retention) in the limbs
• Bleeding that occurs suddenly, often from the nose, or can be seen in the stools
• Difficulty with blood clotting, which can lead to shock or death
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Pain in the eyes

And finally, inflammation, hemorrhage or conjunctivitis in the mucosal membranes which is most common in the eyes. If you don’t take action immediately, your dog may suffer long term consequences or even death. Without proper treatment, the effects on the central nervous system can be devastating, this can occur within days or even hours.

Removing ticks on dogs

DO’s:
• Remove ticks within 24 to 36 hours of a bite.
• Use tweezers; part your dog’s hair around the tick with your fingers, place the tweezers around the tick as close as you can. Then gently pull upwards with strength and pressure until the tick is removed.

DON’Ts:
• Don’t relive ticks with bare hands, you don’t want tick saliva or blood on your fingers which may cause pathogens.
• Don’t squish or crush a tick. This may result in the increase of the chances of infection for you and your dog.
• Don’t worry about the mouth-parts of the tick still being on your dog, they will eventually fall out.
• Don’t put substances like nail polish, vaseline or repellents in the tick while it’s in your dog. This may cause the tick to vomit into your dog, thereby increasing the possibility of infection.
• Don’t dispose ticks in places like your trash can or sink as they can easily crawl back out and back onto your dog.

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How to prevent Tick Diseases In Dogs:

• Ticks usually need a bit of time before they can transmit diseases once they have attached to a dog. This time is usually around several hours – a couple of days, so quickly finding and removing a tick can help keep you and your dog safe.
• Vaccination. Although Lyme disease vaccines are no longer available for humans there are a host of vaccines available for dogs. Vaccination for canines is not always effective enough and eventually wear off. Plus, vaccines don’t provide protection against other ticks on dogs like Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
• Limiting dogs’ exposure to ticks can help prevent them from getting Lyme disease.
• Tick repellents and tick collars can be used, but checking your dog’s skin and hair for the presence of ticks is the most accurate way of preventing infection.

Don’t know what to do to keep your dog tick diseases free? As a veterinarian I recommend the following products:

Tick Collar 

Use a tick collar by fitting it on your dog’s neck  like you would any other collar and protect your pet against tick diseases in dogs. Tick collars need to be changed every 7 to 8 months, but they are relatively non-intrusive and they will kill ticks. Many tick collars contain a dog-safe pesticide; an acaricide. This pesticide kills ticks without poisoning your dog. Some acaricides kill ticks on contact, while some others are absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream, over time, and kill ticks that are hosting on your dog.

Seresto Collar

The Seresto collar is different from conventional flea and tick collars. It employs a novel blend of materials, enabling a safe, controlled, low dose release of active ingredients over 8 months. This provides excellent protection for your dog, not only killing fleas and ticks but also repelling ticks before they bite – which helps to protect your pet from the tick diseases in dogs (these parasites can spread).
Ensures controlled, the low-dose release of its two active ingredients over 8 months, giving your dog the continuous protection he needs.

Ticks on dogs
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Topical spot-on flea and tick treatments

Tick Diseases In Dogs

Try applying a topical insecticide directly to your dog’s skin for long-term ticks on dogs diseases protection. This may be the easiest solution. A one-time dose will protect your dog from fleas for 30 days. Spot on medications is generally applied between the pet’s shoulder blades so the pet can’t lick it off.

Flea treatment kills 100% of adult fleas on your dog within 24-48 hours
Kills all stages of 4 major ticks including the ones that may transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Spot-on flea and tick keep killing fleas and ticks for at least four weeks.

As a veterinarian I also recommend Bayer topical treatment.

Ticks on dogs
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