Ticks are the most difficult and persistent parasites that affect dogs. The American Brown Dog Tick is the most formidable because of its tenacity, resistance to insecticides, rate of propagation and debilitating effect on the host. An adult tick can lay up to 5,000 eggs. A severe infestation of ticks can cause tick paralysis and if left untreated, death.
Lyme disease is a serious tick-borne, bacterial disease that affects both people and dogs. Nearly 18,000 cases were reported to the Center for Disease Control in 2001 alone; and it is estimated that only one in ten cases are actually reported. Studies indicate that dogs are 50% more susceptible to Lyme disease than humans. The disease has been found in every US state.
The Deer Tick that carries Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis can be found in woods, ponds, parks, playgrounds, and your own backyard. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause a number of symptoms that can become very serious, including lameness, arthritis, fever, kidney failure and heart damage. These symptoms may go undetected for years, so it’s very important to have your dog tested annually (Snap3Dx test) or more often if you find ticks on your dog.
Canine Ehrlichiosis is the second most common infectious disease in the US and it is spreading every year. Early detection is the best medicine. Ehrlichiosis is a potentially life-threatening disease your dog can get from several common dog ticks. When an infected tick bites your dog, the feeding site becomes contaminated, potentially infecting the dog with a parasite. If left undetected and untreated, your dog can suffer symptoms ranging from mild to severe, depending upon the phase of the infection and your dog’s physical reaction to the parasite. Ehrlichiosis can result in permanent blindness, autoimmune diseases, bleeding complications and death. There are no proven cases of direct transmission of the ehrlichiosis parasite from dogs to people. Lyme disease cannot be transmitted directly from your pet to you or your family. However, if ticks are found in your area, your family is at risk.
How to protect your pets, yourself and family
Avoid ticks. Ticks are active until the temperature drops into the lower 40’s.
Brush your dog after each outing and do daily “tick checks” on pets and family.
Clear brush and mow grass where your dog and family plays.
Apply Frontline Plus monthly. Frontline Plus kills all stages of four major kinds of disease-carrying ticks including the ones that may transmit Lyme disease. It also kills adult fleas, eggs and larvae and keeps all stages of fleas from developing.
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What to do if you find a tick on your dog
Use small tweezers to firmly grip the tick’s mouth parts as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, steadily and slowly.
Destroy the tick by immersing it in rubbing alcohol.
Apply antiseptic to the bitten area and wash your hands.
Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection that can be fatal if not treated. The parasite is a worm called Diroflaria immitis, and it makes its home in the dog’s bloodstream or heart, causing the animal to become very sick. Your dog can get heartworm if bitten by a mosquito carrying the disease from another dog. If left untreated, heartworm can cause a number of serious symptoms, including difficulty breathing, lack of energy and heart damage. These symptoms may be hidden in the early stages of the disease, so it’s very important to have your dog tested annually with the Snap3Dx blood test. Heartworm has been detected in dogs throughout all areas of the country – even in dogs that have been taking heartworm preventatives. To protect your dog, give him Interceptor monthly and remember to have an annual screening with the Snap3Dx blood test.
Babesia is a disease is usually associated with racing greyhounds in Florida. It is primarily a tropical disease caused by a protozoal parasite that affects red blood cells. The Brown Dog and Deer Ticks transmit babesia. Once infected, the red blood cells are destroyed, resulting in anemia, jaundice, fever, bleeding and low platelet counts. Babesiosis is a cyclical disease, similar to Malaria. Dogs that recover from the initial infection show variable and unpredictable patent periods alternating with dormant periods.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is an infectious disease marked by fever, headache, muscle pain, rash, and mental symptoms. It is also called tick fever. Rocky Mountain spotted fever belongs to a group of insect-borne fevers caused by microscopic parasites known as rickettsiae, which attack the cells lining small blood vessels. The species, Rickettsia rickettsii, responsible for Rocky Mountain sported fever, is transmitted from rodent to man by various ticks. The onset is marked by chills or chilly sensations, fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, and photophobia. Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and abdominal pain. Some patients become highly irritable and delirious, or so lethargic that they may lapse into a stupor or coma. Usually 3 to 5 days after the onset a rash appears on the wrists and ankles, then spreads to the trunk and limbs and occasionally to the face. Rocky Mountain spotted fever responds readily to treatment with tetracyclines and chloramphenicol. If untreated, it can be extremely serious and often fatal. Preventive measures are directed mainly against the disease-carrying ticks and rodents.