Nothing goes together like dogs and the outdoors. Whether its playing in the back yard, swimming in the local pond or lake, or just a game of catch in the park, these furry friends are loads of fun. But there are things in the outdoors that can harm them. Ticks are a constant nuisance. Many people wonder how ticks affect dogs. Ticks can bite dogs, causing skin irritations and making them itch. They can also spread diseases such as Rocky Mountain fever, lyme disease and other illnesses.
Ticks are blood feeding insects. They bite by inserting their straw like mouth parts into the skin and sucking blood from their host. Ticks can feed off of many different animals, but tend to be species specific. Dog ticks like dogs, cat ticks like cats, etc. The first sign that ticks are attacking your dog will be excessive scratching. This is also a symptom of fleas, but in inspection can determine which you are dealing with. Ticks are much larger than fleas, and plump up with a red color when full of blood.
This disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut, where in 1975 there was a sudden outbreak of this disease. It is spread through the bite of the deer tick. Once infected, dogs may take two to five months to show any symptoms. Once they do manifest, the symptoms may include fever, loss of appetite, lameness and swollen joints. The lack of mobility is caused by the swollen and sore joints, and this can last weeks and recur.
Humans can also get the disease, but not from your dog, Lyme disease is only transmitted through the bite of a tick. But it is very common for people to go into the woods where ticks are found with their dogs. This means that you could be just as exposed as your pet. If you get bitten by a tick, remove it and the head as soon as possible. Also watch for the “bullseye”, or red ring that will develop around a bite if lyme disease is present.
This tick transmitted disease is the most common and most dangerous tick born diseases in dogs. The brown dog tick is the carrier for this one. The symptoms may take months to surface, but include fever, no appetite, runny eyes and nose, depression, nose bleeds and swollen limbs. It is caused by a blood born pathogen called ehtliche. A tick bite can also infect humans.
This disease goes through three separate stages. The first stage is the most acute. It has the most severe symptoms. The second stage, the subclinical stage, has no outward signs and can last the remainder of the dogs life. Some dogs actually overcome the disease at this stage. The last stage is the chronic stage. Low blood count, kidney disorder and lameness accompany this stage of the disease. It is usually fatal at this level.
This disease is carried and transmitted by the deer tick. Its similar to other tick born diseases. The symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, stiff joints, vomiting and diarrhea. Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacteria entering the blood through the tick bite. The good news is that this disease can be cured with antibiotics, if caught soon enough.
Canine Hepatozoonosis is transmitted by ingesting a brown dog tick. The dog will scratch an itch by biting it, and sometimes ingests these ticks by mistake. Fever, runny nose and eyes, muscle pain, diarrhea and blood in the stool can be strong indicators of this disease. There currently is no cure for hepatozoonosis, but treatments are available to allow the dog to live with the disease.