Tick Transmitted Diseases

Ticks are dangerous parasites. Ticks on dogs can lead to multiple diseases that can be very harmful. Get the facts and learn how to protect yourself and your pet.

Lyme disease is probably the most recognizable tick-borne disease. It is caused by a bacterium which is transmitted to humans and pets when the tick feeds. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small; in fact, they are no bigger than a pinhead during their immature stages.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Joint pain
  • Lameness
  • Fever

If you suspect your dog has been bitten and may have Lyme disease, consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Tick Paralysis
Tick paralysis is caused by a toxin found in tick saliva which causes a progressive paralysis starting in the hind end. This disease has the potential for death if the paralysis progresses to the muscles used for breathing. An infected dog will begin to show signs in five to nine days after tick attachment.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Sudden, progressive paralysis (not being able to move)
  • Fever

Once the tick(s) is removed, your dog should begin to get better but a visit to your veterinarian is in order.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
This disease is transmitted through the bite of the American dog tick and is most prevalent in the east coast, midwest, and plains regions. Signs of the disease appear in 2 – 14 days after tick attachment and can be severe.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Painful muscles and joints
  • Swollenlymph nodes
  • Swelling of the face and legs
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This disease can be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

Ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis is actually a group of diseases caused by several bacteria in the same family. Different strains of the disease can be transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick and Lone Star Tick when the ticks feed. The clinical signs vary depending on which phase of the disease your dog is displaying and can range from mild to very severe. Some dogs display no signs of the disease at all.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Listlessness
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the eye)
  • Kidney failure

Ehrlichiosis can be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

Other tick-borne diseases
Hepatozoon Canis is a one-celled parasite transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick. This disease is seen all year – not just during tick season. Most infections do not cause illness, but can spark serious consequences in pets already infected with diseases such as ehrlichiosis and those with suppressed immune systems.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • Weakness of the hind limbs
  • Anemia
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lameness
  • Severe muscle pain

Canine Babesiosis is a one-celled parasite that can infect dogs. Clinical signs of infection include severe anemia. The severity of signs may vary depending on the strain of parasite, the level of infection, and your dog’s immune status. Also, if your dog has a concurrent infection, the signs may be worse.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney failure

Practice prevention
As with all diseases transmitted by ticks, tick control is the key to prevention. Products which repel and kill ticks such as those found in the Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® and Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® lines are preferred choices.