Tick-Related Problems in Dogs

 
As blood feeders, ticks can be a nuisance; their bites can cause irritation and, in the case of some ticks, paralysis.

However, tick bites are generally painless and the animal will not even notice the bite.

Besides irritation ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood sucking arthropoda, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses and the actual bite may cause early symptoms of transmitted disease only after the tick drops off.

Local redness, itching and, rarely, localized pain may be found. The results of the illnesses transmitted by ticks often begin days to weeks after the tick is gone. That’s why clinicians may not suspect a tick-related illness.

The most important tick-borne diseases in dogs and cats are:

  • Lyme Disease 
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babesiosis
     

 Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a inflammatory disorder caused by infection with the tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It is named Lyme disease after the place in Connecticut, USA where it was first recognised.

In dogs, the most obvious symptoms of Lyme disease include: a distinctive ‘bull’s eye’ lesion around the site of the bite, lameness, inflamed lymph nodes and fever.

Lyme disease is also one of the most important disease transmitted to man by ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme disease are often flu-like, including: extreme tiredness, muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint pain, headache. They can also include: stomach ache, poor sleep, disturbances of the central nervous system and the distinctive ‘bull’s eye’ rash.

If you or your pet suffer any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor or veterinarian immediately. 

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease of the white blood cells, caused by infection with a bacterium called rickettsia.

In dogs, the symptoms of ehrlichiosis can include fever, anorexia, weight loss, stiffness and prolonged bleeding. 

People can also catch ehrlichiosis as a result of being bitten by an infected tick.

Ehrlichiosis is found worldwide and the diagnosis is based on the typical clinical signs and results of special blood tests.

If you or your pet suffer any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor or veterinarian immediately. 

Babesiosis

Babesiosis is a disease of the red blood cells caused by infection with 1 of a number of species of the tick-borne parasite, Babesia.

In dogs, the symptoms of babesiosis can include: loss of appetite, fever, anaemia, weakness and coffee-coloured urine. It can be fatal.

If you or your pet suffer any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor or veterinarian immediately. 

Zoonoses caused by Ticks

Ticks are a hazard to human health through direct effects as well as through the transmission of viral, rickettsial, bacterial, fungal, and protozoan diseases. Only that of mosquitoes surpasses their capacity as vectors for the transmission of human diseases.

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Notes

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