Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs to Look Out For

Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs to Look Out For

March 03, 2021


We all know a tick bite can be harmful to humans. When a tick bites you, it feeds on your blood and can transmit dangerous diseases to your system, and we do everything we can to protect ourselves — from tucking our pants into our socks to using bug repellent. But we need to worry about our furry friends when it comes to tick bites, too. Here are some common tick-borne diseases in dogs and symptoms to look out for. 

Lyme Disease in Dogs

You’ve likely heard of humans contracting Lyme disease, but did you know dogs are at risk for this disease also? Deer ticks are known for carrying Lyme disease, and it is transmitted when the tick feeds on your dog’s blood. However, the tick must be on your canine friend for around 48 hours for transmission to be successful. Because of this, you should always check your dog for ticks after walking in wooded or grassy areas. The sooner you remove a tick, the less likely the disease is to be transmitted. 

Symptoms to look out for are limping, lethargy, lameness, fever and swollen joints. It can take weeks for symptoms to appear, and a blood test is usually required for diagnosis. If your dog does contract Lyme disease, you can expect them to be placed on antibiotics as treatment. 

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Deer ticks, along with western black-legged ticks, are also known for carrying anaplasmosis. This disease presents similarly to Lyme disease and includes lethargy, lameness, painful joints and fever. Other signs to watch for are vomiting, diarrhea and lack of appetite. Unlike Lyme disease, anaplasmosis usually presents itself one to seven days after infection. 

Special screening kits can diagnose anaplasmosis in dogs, and treatment involves antibiotics.


Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis is usually carried by the brown dog tick, but other species of ticks have also been known to transmit it. This disease has three stages: acute, subclinical and chronic. When caught early on, your dog can have a good chance of recovery, but once ehrlichiosis reaches the chronic stage, it’s much more difficult for dogs to recover.  

Symptoms tend to appear one to three weeks after the tick bite and include low blood platelets, fever, reduced appetite and painful joints. Antibiotics can act as sufficient treatment when ehrlichiosis is caught early, but for dogs in the chronic stage, more support and treatments will be needed.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is one of the most common tick-borne diseases, and it is transmitted by the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. For the disease to be transmitted, the tick must be attached to your dog for at least five hours, so be sure to check for ticks immediately after walking in wooded areas. 

Many dogs don’t show symptoms of RMSF, but signs include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite and joint pain. This disease can be treated with about two weeks of antibiotics.  


Preventing Tick Bites on Dogs

One of the easiest ways to prevent tick-borne disease in dogs is by giving your dog a monthly flea and tick preventative. Also, take care to check your dog after time spent outside, especially if they were in an area with tall grass and plants. 

If you live in an area with a high tick population or have noticed ticks around your home, consider professional pest control. MosquitoNix® offers a residential pest control program that covers ticks and other harmful pests. Request a quote today.

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