When you choose to bring a four-legged friend in to your family, you are signing up for a large number of responsibilities. One of the most important responsibilities is doing everything you can to keep your dog safe from harm and as healthy as possible. However, this isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds.
One of the biggest challenges of pet ownership is learning to understand our pets. Unable to vocalize how they feel, your canine companion is reliant on you being observant and correctly identifying his behaviors so that you can determine how content he is, or if he is unwell. If you are relatively new to doggy parenting, this can be quite tricky. Even experienced owners can struggle to identify exactly what their pet is trying to tell them, particularly as many behaviors can be symptomatic of a range of different problems.
There are a variety of different health problems that can affect domestic dogs, with one of the most common being tick-borne diseases. Ticks are small parasites that live on the outside of your pet’s body, drinking his blood to sustain them. Wingless, they attach to your furbaby as he walks through areas where they reside, such as long grass, woodland and even gardens with plenty of shrubs and foliage. Unfortunately, many types of tick carry infectious diseases, some of which can be extremely serious and pose a considerable risk to the health of your pet. When a tick carrying infected blood bites your pet it transfers some of the microorganisms into him where they cause illness.
How do I know if my pet has a tick-borne disease?
When it comes to identifying a tick-borne disease, the sooner you can get an official the diagnosis the better your dog’s outcome is likely to be. Symptoms of a canine tick-borne disease tend to vary depending on exactly what your furbaby has been infected with. Nevertheless, there are a few indicators which are often present in cases of a tick-related illness.
The general symptoms to look out for include:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Seeming generally ‘depressed’ or out of sorts
If your dog is infected with Lyme disease, he may also experience lameness.
If your furbaby has anaplasmosis, he might suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures.
If a tick has transmitted ehrlichiosis to your canine pal, he might show symptoms that include weight loss, runny nose/watery eyes, bloody mucus from the nose and respiratory problems.
If your dog is infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever he may also experience skin lesions, vomiting and neurological abnormalities.
Babesiosis is characterized by additional symptoms that include dark urine, swollen weak nodes and weakness.
As the symptoms can vary widely and can be indicative of a number of health problems, it is essential to get your pet checked by a veterinarian if you remotely suspect he is suffering from a tick-borne disease.
Treating tick-borne diseases in dogs
Exactly what treatment will be prescribed for your dog will depend on the specific tick-borne disease that he has contracted. In most instances, a 30-day course of antibiotics (usually doxycycline) is sufficient to treat the disease. The exact dose your pet will be given will depend on his weight.
As with all medical problems, the sooner the treatment can be started the better the outcome is likely to be for your pet. In some instances where a pet has been badly affected, other additional treatments such as intravenous fluids or even blood transfusions.
Our vet at Memphis Animal Clinic will talk through your dog’s treatment plan with you in detail, which also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
Want more information about identifying and treating tick-borne diseases? Contact your Vet in Memphis to get answers from our knowledgeable and experienced team at Memphis Animal Clinic today.