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Tick Bites on Dogs and the Diseases They Cause

Avid canine explorers beware – there’s something nasty lurking in the grass, able to spread disease in a single bite. Ticks may be tiny, but they can become a huge problem for pets and humans alike. Tick bites on dogs can be tricky. Read on to learn about five common tick-borne diseases in dogs and how to prevent them.

Dog Health

Posted by bravectosouthafrica - 06 February 2020

Ticks: The Tiny Parasite That Leads to Huge Problems

These little blood suckers aren’t merely unpleasant to look at, they can do some serious damage to both your four-legged and bipedal family members. Ticks bites on dogs, cats and humans can lead to the host contracting some truly nasty diseases. This is because ticks are carriers of other parasites, as well as bacteria.

Tick-borne diseases are often overlooked as a possible cause of illness because these pesky parasites usually feed from and fall off the host without them noticing they were bitten in the first place. Numerous tick-borne diseases have similar signs and symptoms, so it’s extremely important to consult with your trusted vet, should you suspect a tick-transmitted disease.

Tick-borne diseases are often overlooked as a possible cause of illness because these pesky parasites usually feed from and fall off the host without them noticing they were bitten in the first place. Numerous tick-borne diseases have similar signs and symptoms, so it’s extremely important to consult with your trusted vet, should you suspect a tick-transmitted disease.

tick bites on dog

Canine Babesiosis

Two species of tick that commonly act as carriers of canine babesiosis are the yellow dog tick and brown kennel tick. Red blood cells are affected by the disease, which is caused by protozoan parasites from the Babesia genus.

Canine babesiosis can further be spread through:

  • Dog-on-dog bites by infected dogs that have oral lesions or abrasions, although this is rare
  • Tainted blood transfusions
  • Mother-to-pup transmission, while still in utero

Babesia is more commonly found in dogs and other animals than humans. Signs of the infection range from mild to severe and may even result in death. The disease causes anaemia, with weakness and vomiting being key indicators.

An anaemic dog sleeping in its bed

Canine Bartonellosis

Spread by both ticks and fleas, different strains of this bacterial disease target dogs, cats and humans. It’s possible for bartonellosis to be transferred from animals to humans and vice versa.

No matter what creature caused the infection, it’s more commonly known as cat scratch disease when contracted by humans.

Symptoms include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Lameness
  • Lethargy
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swollen and inflamed lymph nodes, brain and eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever

If gone untreated, bartonellosis can lead to liver or heart disease.

A sick Dalmatian refuses to eat from a bowl offered to him

Canine Hepatozoonosis

This rare, tick-transmitted disease is caused by the protozoan Hepatozoon canis. Unlike others on this list, tick bites on dogs aren’t the cause. In fact, it’s the dog that does the biting here. Canine hepatozoonosis is contracted when dogs consume infected ticks.

This infection leads to certain body tissues becoming inflamed. Signs of the disease include:

  • Poor body condition
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Depression
  • Fever

Currently, there is no permanent solution to this infection and dogs suffering from it will carry it within their bodies for the rest of their lives.

tick bites on dogs hiding in carpet

Ehrlichiosis

Brown kennel tick bites on dogs, cats (although uncommon) and humans are the cause of this bacterial disease. It is known to cause flu-like symptoms within 1-3 weeks of being infected, such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

Dogs affected by Ehrlichiosis may also develop bleeding disorders.

tick bites on dog affecting its sleep

Haemotropic Mycoplasmosis

Transmitted by both ticks and fleas to cats and dogs, this bacterial parasite is also known as feline infectious anaemia. Like canine babesiosis, haemotropic mycoplasmosis causes anaemia and weakness in sufferers. Symptoms in cats and dogs differ, with dogs showing the following signs, in the event of a weakened immune system:

  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

pug suffering tick bites on dogs

The Way to Tick-Borne Disease-Free Living

One sure way to prevent tick bites on dogs is to treat them with one of Bravecto®’s great products for dogs – all of which are fast-acting and long-lasting. The treatments are also quick and easy to use!

Bravecto® Chew comes in the form of a delicious treat your dog will want to gobble right up. A single dose should be given to your dog by mouth and with food. It’s as easy as that – now your dog can enjoy 12 weeks of tick-, flea- and mite-free living.

You can also opt to treat your dog with Bravecto® Spot-On for Dogs, which is equally simple and convenient to administer. All you have to do is part the hair and dab the treatment directly onto their exposed skin. With that, your dog will be safe from ticks for 4 months and from fleas for 6 months.

Bravecto® is a fantastic product for protecting pets from ticks, fleas and mites. However, should you suspect that your dog has already contracted a tick-borne disease, be sure to take them to your trusted vet ASAP.

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