Dangers of Tick-Borne Diseases – Parasite Awareness 101
During the warmer months of the year, there is a pesky parasite lurking in the bushes that can have a negative impact on your pet’s health. Ticks are a source of constant concern among pet owners – and for a good reason. The dangers of tick-borne diseases are on the rise as these little critters become ever more resistant to chemical pesticides. Even so, there are preventive solutions and regular maintenance routines that can dramatically decrease the chances of your pet suffering a tick’s potentially infectious bite.
Multiple Infections, A Single Bite
When it comes to tick-borne diseases, a single bite can be all it takes to do the job. Ticks can harbor multiple infectious pathogens that they pick up from other wildlife in the region. These pathogens can be transmitted to your pet with only a single bite making prevention a cornerstone aspect in your pet care and wellness plan.
There are several diseases that ticks can transfer to your pet. Having an awareness of what to look out for can help ensure an infected pet gets the treatment they need before any health problems get out of hand. Let’s have a look at some of the most pressing tick-borne diseases and what you can do.
Lyme disease comes from two kinds of ticks found in the US. The deer tick (found in the upper Midwest and Northeast) and the western black-legged tick (found in the western US) are both potential carriers of Lyme disease. This disease is caused by a specific type of bacteria detectable only through special testing.
Symptoms may arise after two to five months of being bitten. These can include swollen lymph nodes, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, joint swelling, and lameness. Screening twice per year in tick hot-spots may be your best bet to actively stay on top of potential infections.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Transmitted by the American dog tick and the lone star tick, rocky mountain spotted fever can cause reduced appetite, joint pain, fever, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and lameness. There are other more serious late-stage signs as well. Treated early, rocky mountain spotted fever can be effectively cured.
The deer tick and the black dog tick are the primary carriers of Anaplasma phagocytophilum or Anaplasma platys bacteria. These bacteria can cause high fever, neck pain, neurologic signs, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, loss of appetite, and even seizures. If your dog’s immune system does not clear this infection on its own, antibiotics can be used if required.
Transmitted by both the brown dog tick and the lone star tick, Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia ewingii are the two kinds of bacteria that are carried by these ticks respectively. Once transmitted, these bacteria can cause swollen lymph nodes, appetite loss, low fever, lethargy, and occasionally nosebleeds, lameness, and bruising. Like many tick-borne illnesses, your dog may flush the issue without much ado. If the issues persist, a course of antibiotics may be administered.
Cases of babesiosis are typically located in the Southern US where populations of the intracellular parasite Babesia is found hijacking ticks. If left untreated, this parasite can inflict all kinds of damage to your pet. If symptoms are present, they can include fever, orange or red-colored urine, appetite loss, low energy, discolored stool, weight loss, weakness, and more. Late stage issues can cause multiple organ failure and nervous system disruption.
Being aware of the dangers of tick-borne diseases can help you responsibly handle seasonal parasite problems. Preventive measures are almost always best when it comes to parasites and the diseases they can cause. If you suspect your pet is experiencing health issues related to tick-borne disease, please reach out to us immediately. We will have a look at your pet and perform the required tests to make sure everything is okay. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a team member here at Bridge Park Animal Hospital at the earliest signs of wellness issues. It can make a big difference.