Ticks are a health threat to your dog. Ticks are bothersome on their own, but they can also transmit infections to your dog, which can lead to additional health problems. Tick bites irritate pets, especially those that have an allergic reaction to them, and they can make dogs sick.
If your pet is fond of spending time outside, you need to be more careful. Even dogs that spend most of their time indoors might become parasite hosts. To prevent ticks in your pet, you need to be more diligent and check them throughout the year.
This annoying little creature can create multiple skin issues and other health ailments in your furry friend. This article has pulled together the measure to prevent ticks on dogs and discussed why & how ticks can be hazards for your dogs’ health. Let’s have a look:
Why Are Tick Bites Dangerous For You Canine Partner?
Note that ticks are blood-sucking parasites; a significant tick infestation can induce anemia, a condition that causes fatigue and may necessitate a blood transfusion in extreme cases. Most tick-borne illnesses can connect to your pet if they are not vaccinated.
Tick bites on dogs can be challenging to spot. Tick-borne illness symptoms may not develop for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so if you observe that a tick has bitten your dog, keep an eye out for changes in behavior or appetite.
According to research done across the USA on ticks infesting dogs & cats, the survey data showed many tick species infested dogs. The large-scale study has shown that 35.6% of dogs were infected with Dermacentor Variabilis specific od ticks, 27% of dogs are infected by the tick species Ixodes scapularis, 23.1% were caught by Amblyomma americanum, and 11.5% are infested by Rhipicephalus sanguineus.
The study further revealed that A. americanum tick is most commonly attached to the abdomen, axillary, and inguinal regions; where the trick species like D. variabilis and I. scapularis are found into the neck, head, and back; and R. sanguineus species is witnessed into the head, neck, abdomen, legs, and feet.
How Can Ticks Be A Health Threat To Your Dog?
Ticks in your dog’s skin can lead to a variety of severe health ailments & life-threatening infectious diseases:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, also known as RMSF, is a zoonosis. It can be transmitted between humans and pets. The primary cause of RMSF is a tiny bacteria known as Rickettsia rickettsii. The ailments can cause damage and inflammation in tiny blood vessels. The hemorrhage is often visible on the skin, but it can occur in other internal organs like the heart, brain, and kidney, resulting in serious, life-threatening/fatal illnesses.
The diagnosis of the disease is based on demonstrating RMSF DNA in the patient’s blood by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Vets also perform Serology; it examines a rising immune response over time. It is treated with the antibiotic doxycycline, which is most effective when started before the fifth day of symptoms. However, diagnosis and treatment can be profoundly significant in outcome and prognosis.
Ehrlichiosis is caused by a rickettsia, a type of bacteria that infects both dogs and people. In canines, the ailment is primarily caused by Ehrlichia canis or canine monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, which is transmitted from tick bites.
In the acute phase of ehrlichiosis, signs are seen 1-3 weeks after exposure. You can observe Fever, anorexia, lethargy, or enlarged lymph nodes. Also, clinical signs like thrombocytopenia, low platelet count, and bleeding tendency are seen. Vets ensure to take care of the ailments through a presumptive diagnosis when clinical signs & history of exposure to the tick are seen. Usually, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline are used to cure this ailment.
Lyme disease is another infectious disease. It is caused by a spirochete bacteria or Borrelia that the Black-Legged Tick or Deer Tick carries. The ailments primarily prevalent in Lyme disease have Northeast and upper Midwest areas of the United States. However, it is also found on the west coast like Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida.
Signs of Lyme disease may include Fever, joint pain/swelling, lameness, limping, enlargement of lymph nodes, and lethargy. It can lead to fatal kidney disease in your canine. The disease is diagnosed via blood test, and in the initial test, exposure to the tick agent helps the vets determine additional testing as needed.
It is another disease spread by ticks. The black-legged tick primarily transmits it, also referred to as the deer tick. The infectious diseases transmitted by ticks are collectively called “vector-borne diseases, ” among which canine anaplasmosis is one.
The parasites acquire the bacteria from feeding on an infected host animal, and it passes it to your four-legged friend by biting him and ingesting his blood. When your pet has been infected with the ailment, you may encounter signs like Joint pain and stiffness, high Fever, Lethargy, Loss of appetite, Vomiting, Diarrhea, and infrequent Neurological symptoms resulting in seizures and neck pain.
When your vet suspects the infection, they may recommend the following tests: Baseline blood work, an antibody test, electrolyte tests, and PCR testing to detect the organism in the blood in the early stages of infection.
Where To Find Ticks In Your Pet
Following are the most significant areas on the dog’s body where ticks usually accumulate:
- Around the eyelids
- In and around ears
- Under dog’s collar
- Around the neck
- Under front feet
- Around the tail
- Between rear legs
What Is The Best Way To Keep Your Dog Safe From Ticks?
- Keep away from regions with a lot of grass
Ticks like to stay low on the ground, hiding in tall grass or leaf detritus. It’s advisable to avoid or restrict exposure to tall grass while taking your dog for a stroll in tick season, which is usually the hot months between March and September, especially if deer graze nearby. Walking in the middle of walkways, away from foliage around the margins, and avoiding overhanging plants where ticks wait for their next meal, is smart advice.
Ticks may live in a variety of conditions, so it’s crucial to stay cautious at all times. Immature ticks (also known as tick nymphs) require humidity to survive and seek gloomy areas. It implies that, while ticks are usually linked with tall grass, your dog can pick them up in the park or even in your yard if there are wild animals there.
- During ‘walking,’ don’t forget to defend yourself
If you’re taking your pet for a stroll in a tick-infested region, make sure you’ve dressed appropriately so you also can keep yourself safe from ticks, which otherwise might put your entire family and your dog in danger. Tick bites can be avoided by covering your skin. Always wear pants rather than shorts, and tuck them into socks to hide your ankles. After returning from a stroll, always inspect your body for ticks.
- Examine your pet
If you’ve gone for a walk, it’s a good idea to check your pet thoroughly once your pet gets home for any ticks that may have attached themselves along the way.
Work your way up each leg, starting with the paws, then examine the body from the back to the nose, paying special attention to the crotch. Ticks love to cling onto the head, ears, legs, and undercarriage, so pay special attention to these regions.
Also, make sure you check for ticks by splitting your hair against and with the development of your hair. If you see a little lump on your skin, it might be a tick; therefore, inspect thoroughly without touching it with your naked skin.
- Select the appropriate therapy
Tick treatments are available in a variety of forms, including spot-on, pills, and collars. Various products have different effects; you should discuss this with your veterinarian to find what works best for you and your dog.
Always check the expiration date on goods you’ve had in your pantry for a while before treating your pet. It’s also a wise idea to ask your veterinarian the products they recommend for the greatest outcomes. Whichever tick prevention medication you pick, it’s critical to apply it on a regular basis to ensure your dog’s long-term protection.
- Monitor your yards
Look for ticks in the areas of your yard where they may be hiding. Tick hotspots may be found in overgrown shrubs and sections of long grass, so mowing, weeding, and pruning can eliminate the issue. Then, around your yard, apply an outdoor tick spray to eradicate ticks and decrease the amount that may end up on your pet.
What Measure Should You Take When You Discover A Tick On Your Dog?
To ensure & prevent your pet from contracting any of the parasite’s diseases, remove a tick ASAP when you notice it on your pet. To prevent disease transmission and injury to your dog, you must know how to correctly remove a tick.
Tick hooks are a simple gadget that may be purchased at any pharmacy. Tick hooks, unlike tweezers, are less likely to remove the tick’s powerful mouthparts in your dog, which offer an infection risk even after the remainder of the tick’s body has been removed.
Hence, it is a wise choice to take your dog to a veterinarian nearby. To find out the top-rated vets in your area, you can opt for an online vet directory such as GreatVet.
The platform helps pet owners find a vet simply by putting the zip code, metro area, or city. Upon doing so, a list of top-rated vets appears, and you can choose a vet based on your pet’s health needs, or else you can click on your state on the map provided to define your search list. You can track down the clinic’s links, get their contact details, and book an appointment time when your pet requires immediate medical attention.
To protect your furry friend away from the parasite, ensure to keep your surroundings clean. Ensure to groom your dog, and whenever you notice any skin issues, consult a pet dermatologist. Removing an embedded tick by yourself can be a risky affair.
Coating the tick with lubricant does nothing; it renders the tick slippery and more difficult to remove. And acetone, a chemical, on the other hand, makes the tick brittle and more likely to shatter during the removal process. So to keep your pet safe, talk to your veterinarian about it and discuss it with the professional for guidance.
We hope the discussion helps you understand skin issues due to ticks on your dogs and how you can keep your companions tick-free, happy & healthy together, offering a comfortable life.
Disclaimer: The content on the site is for educational purposes only, and it does not provide medical advice. The shared information must not be treated as a substitute for or alternative for medical practitioner advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Regarding any concerns about your pet’s health, seeking veterinary guidance is of utmost necessity. Each pet has specific health, fitness & nutrition needs. Do not disregard, avoid or delay pet health-related advice from veterinarians based on reading the information provided on this site.