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The Whippeteer: Whippet Dog News, Issue #70 - Tick Borne Diseases
September 02, 2016


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Featured Article

There are 3 common tick born diseases in pets. Understand each one, how to prevent them, and how to treat them if your pet has it.

Tick Born Diseases in Pets - What to Do and How to Treat

Tick Born Diseases in Pets - What to Do and How to Treat
By Dr. Jan Bellows, DVM

Warm weather brings out a host of parasites that like to prey on pets, including the tick. Ticks, while annoying and bothersome, can also be deadly for our dogs. Ticks carry a range of diseases within their bodies, and when they attach to a dog, these different diseases can be transferred through their saliva.

The best way to avoid any tick born diseases is to attempt to prevent them. Monthly application of flea and tick preventative is a must, as it kills ticks within a short time frame. This alone does not always prevent the spread of disease, and it is possible for a tick to remain on a dog long enough to pass a disease (for example, if it is close to reapplication of preventative).

In addition to preventative, it is very important to do daily inspections of your dog by brushing him and running your hands through his hair and over his body. Pay close attention to the areas in and around the ears and eyes, in the armpits of legs, and under the tail. Many ticks like to gravitate to these areas, and they are often the last ones to be found during simple petting.

A disease may be passed on in as little as 5-10 hours after a tick attaches to your pet. If you see a tick, immediately remove it. You may put it in a small jar of alcohol and save it. This way, if a pet becomes sick or lethargic within a 7-10 day period after tick removal, you can take the tick to your vet for immediate identification of the tick and the possible disease.

Tick born diseases have to be fully identified with a blood test, and a strong course of antibiotics will be the remedy. Some of these diseases will recur, so close monitoring is necessary. The symptoms are wide ranging as well, but the best course of action is to take your dog to the vet if he appears lethargic, sick, or lame at all following the removal of a tick.

Here are the 3 most common tick born diseases:

1. Ehrlichiosis: This is a common tick born disease that is transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick. Many dogs are affected by it, but it may not be correctly verified. There are two phases: acute and chronic. During the acute phase, a dog will experience symptoms anywhere from 1-3 weeks, but often it is not recognized as Ehrlishiosis because the symptoms resolve themselves. Chronic dogs, on the other hand, are the dogs that can't fight off the disease while in the acute stage. If left untreated, these dogs may die. Symptoms can include kidney problems and eventual failure, anemia, swollen lymph nodes, bleeding disorders, and neurological problems.

2. Lyme Disease: The Deer tick is responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease. Limping or lameness is one of the most common symptoms for the disease. There will be shifting of lameness in the legs, possibly swollen lymph nodes, and swollen joints. Limping may last only a couple of days or persist for weeks. Sometimes a dog limps, has the limp disappear for a few weeks, only to have it return again and again. Chronic arthritis, kidney problems, heart issues, and nervous system problems may occur if left untreated.

3. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: The American Dog Tick and the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Tick are the culprits for the spread of this disease. It too has two stages: sub-clinical and acute. Sub-clinical stage dogs may never be fully diagnosed as they are able to fight off the disease. Acute symptoms may include fever, edema, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, joint pain, nose bleeds, retinal hemorrhages, and neurological problems.

All tick born diseases should be taken seriously and quickly treated, once identified. Left untreated, severe symptoms and lasting issues can occur. It is also important to note that many dogs will suffer recurrences from the original disease without re-exposure to ticks. Even while symptom free, these sufferers may show positive results on future blood tests, so close monitoring is necessary to respond to future outbreaks.

Visit the veterinarian and dentist who treats your pets at All Pets Dental Weston. Doctor Jan Bellows specializes in the treatment of small animals, and is a Diplomate to both the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the American Veterinary Dental College. His practices, All Pets Dental Clinic and Hometown Animal Hospital, have been caring for your pets since 1977. They can be reached at 954-349-5800.

Article Source:,_DVM/120971

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