Tick Fever In Dogs: Every dog owner recognizes that the problem of ticks in dogs is common. It can spread dangerous infections to your dog as well as you. In general, infections caused by ticks are not passed from dogs to humans. However, they can sometimes affect you when removing ticks.
Tick-borne infections are caused by parasites. These parasites spread infection by entering the dog’s bloodstream. In most cases, signs of infection appear within a week, but sometimes tick bites do not pose any threat. These parasites damage the blood cells, due to which there can be many problems such as anemia, and clotting disorder.
Apart from this, this infection can also spread to the liver, kidney, and spleen.
Tick-borne infection can cause lethargy, inability to eat, diarrhea and vomiting, and bleeding problems in dogs. Therefore, it is important to diagnose the disease at the earliest, because starting treatment at the right time can prevent a great danger. ‘Specialized antibody test’ and PCR test are needed to diagnose the disease.
Initially, the necessary procedures for accurate diagnosis are not taken, as the results may take time to come. That’s why veterinarians usually recommend antibiotics to suppress the disease to some extent. In this case, a drug called doxycycline is commonly used in India. The drug is given to the dog for about a month and if symptoms persist after the course is completed, the veterinarian may recommend continuation of the medication.
In severe cases, complementary treatments such as blood transfusions and anti-inflammatory medications are needed. But in cases where the infection is detected early, the diagnosis can be better.
If you have more than one pet in your home, the tick can infect other dogs as well. Your veterinarian may also recommend antibiotics if needed.
According to a survey of canine tick-borne diseases in India, there are at least six types of parasites that are used as antibodies:
- Rickettsia conorii
- Babesia Parasite
- Ehrlichia Canis
- Anaplasma Parasite
- Hepatozoon Canis
- Borrelia Burgdorferi
The most common ticks that transmit these parasites in India include the brown dog tick and the Ixodes or ‘deer tick’.
What Is Spotted Fever Or Tick Typhus In Dogs?
Spotted fever is a tick-borne infection caused by Rickettsia bacteria, especially Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia felis, and Rickettsia conorii. Its most common symptoms include redness or purple spots on the tick bite area. Let us tell you, in India, typhus ticks are found in dogs due to bacteria called Rickettsia conorii.
Tick Fever In Dogs Symptoms
Symptoms of spotted fever in a dog depend on its severity and type. The normal temperature of a dog is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature is higher than this, he needs to be taken to the vet.
Symptoms of spotted fever in canines include:
- Lethargy And Loss Of Appetite
- Difficulty walking or lameness
- Enlargement of lymph nodes
- Small red or purple spots all over the body. This condition is called spotted fever.
In severe cases, neurological symptoms may also appear.
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How To Diagnose Tick Fever In Dogs?
Your veterinarian may ask you about the dog’s medical history, including information on deworming and vaccinations. All information may be needed from the onset of symptoms to changes in the dog’s behavior. This can help the doctor find out the exact details of the infection. Apart from this, they can also take the help of blood tests, which include:
- CBC: This gives information about antibody production.
- Platelet Count And Clotting Test: This is a test to measure the level of blood and platelets.
- Titer test: To confirm the diagnosis, after about two weeks, a blood test is done again. The purpose of this test is to detect the presence of parasites.
Treatment For Tick Fever Is Started With Antibiotics
Doxycycline is the most commonly used drug in India. The dog needs to be given this medicine for about a month. After this period, the blood test will be done again to know the effectiveness of the medicine. If needed, the help of supplementary treatment such as blood transfusion can be taken.
In cases where there is no significant complication or difficulty and treatment is started at the appropriate time, there is a rapid improvement. However, if there are complications then the condition can be serious. Infection can be followed by kidney disease, liver disease, and neurological problems.
What is Babesiosis Infection in Dogs?
Babesia is a small parasite that infects red blood cells. Infection caused by this parasite is called babesiosis disease. The disease is transmitted through tick bites, bites from tick-infected dogs, and passed from female dogs to their pups or blood transfusions. There are several subtypes of Babesia parasites such as Babesia canis vogeli and Babesia Gibson, which are found in the Indian subcontinent.
The symptoms of this disease start showing from one to eight weeks after being affected by Babesiosis disease. Anemia can result if it is not treated on time. However, other common symptoms of Babesia infection in India include thrombocytopenia or a decrease in platelets.
As a treatment, antibiotics are given for about a month and a blood test is done to know the effectiveness of the medicine. If you have more than one dog in your household, they should also be tested, as the same tick can affect other animals.
What Are The Symptoms Of Babesiosis or Babesiosis Infection in Dogs?
Since these parasites damage red blood cells, the body’s immune system prevents the infection from spreading. Unfortunately, this process kills off healthy red blood cells, leading to ‘immune-mediated hemolytic anemia’ (a severe form of anemia). In this, the red blood cells start decreasing rapidly, due to which the following problems can occur:
- High fever, Lethargy, And Weakness
- Jaundice in dogs
- Dark-colored urine and stools
- Abdominal distension
Due to excessive inflammation, blood platelets drop and problems related to clotting begin. In addition, neurological symptoms such as loss of balance and seizures may occur.
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How To Diagnose Babesiosis Tick Infection In Dogs?
Blood stains may appear in some forms of Babesia. Apart from this, the disease can also be diagnosed through antibody testing (IFA and PCR). It has often been found that accurate information is not available in the blood test, in which case the help of PCR can be taken. However, veterinarians can also diagnose Babesia infection through a physical exam and medical history.
If you live in an area where there is a risk of these ticks or if there is a problem of tick infestation in the dog frequently, then the vet may start treatment based on this situation.
How To Treat Babesiosis Infection In Dogs?
The drug ‘Imidocarb’ is most commonly used as a treatment for babesiosis in dogs. For some types of parasites, only one tablet of imidocarb is usually sufficient, while in some cases more than one tablet may be needed. The injection is painful and can cause side effects such as drooling, swelling of the face, tremors, and increased heartbeat.
Supplementary antibiotics such as azithromycin and quinine may also be used. Since babesiosis infection can also affect humans, a drug called clindamycin may sometimes be used.
In some cases, supplementary treatment such as a blood transfusion may also be needed. If there are no further complications in such cases, it means that the diagnosis of the disease has been accurate.
What Is Ehrlichiosis Tick Infection In Dogs?
Like spotted fever, ehrlichiosis is also caused by the brown dog tick and is a parasitic species belonging to the Rickettsiales family. The most common parasites that cause infection include E. canis. The risk of ehrlichiosis tick infection is higher in German Shepherd dogs than popular dog breeds in India. This infection spreads through different stages: acute, subclinical, and chronic.
- canis can live in a dog’s bloodstream for up to two weeks before symptoms appear. It resides in the blood cells and causes anemia and blood clotting. It can also be found in the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and lymph nodes.
Like other types of tick infection, its diagnosis also depends on the symptoms. A veterinarian may take the help of blood tests, antibody tests, urinalysis, and PCR tests for testing. However, the problem with tick-borne infections is that the symptoms are nearly identical and vague. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to know which type of parasite has caused this infection. Your dog may be suffering from more than one type of infection, as a tick can be a carrier of many types of parasites.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ehrlichiosis Tick Infection In Dogs?
In this stage, the parasites damage the white blood cells to take their place, due to which the platelets start decreasing:
- Fever in dogs
- Lethargy in dogs
- Loss of appetite in dogs
- Swollen lymph nodes and spleen
It is important to remember that if the disease is identified at an acute stage, the disease can be prevented from progressing to the next stage.
The phase after two to four weeks of the acute phase is called the subclinical phase. In this, external symptoms are reduced. In this, the infection reaches the spleen and can remain there for months or even years. This stage of the disease is considered dangerous because dog owners who do not show any outward signs feel that the problem is subdued and do not consider it necessary to go to the vet. The only sign of illness at this point is:
Abnormal presence of blood reports, in which there are increased white blood cells.
Some dogs may remain in this condition indefinitely and may not feel any discomfort during this time. However, in some, the condition tends to become chronic (chronic or long-lasting).
In this stage, there is no accurate diagnosis and symptoms may reappear. Its signs include:
- Anemia in dogs
- Frequent bleeding in dogs
- Loss of coordination, difficulty walking, and limping
- Eye problems in dogs such as uveitis
- Swelling in extremities
- Neurological problems such as seizures and loss of consciousness
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Diagnosis Of Ehrlichiosis In Dogs
Like other tick-borne infections, blood tests and urinalysis are used to diagnose ehrlichiosis. The dog’s medical history can also help with the diagnosis. If your local veterinarian’s office has facilities for PCR and antibody tests, it is best to take advantage of these facilities to help with an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment Of Ehrlichiosis In Dogs
Doxycycline is usually given to dogs with E. canis infection. In dogs that are still in the early stages, treatment results are quicker and better. The dosage of these medicines lasts for 28 days, after which a clinical trial will be done. If the test shows that the infection is not completely cured, the dietary regimen will still be continued. In more severe cases, a blood transfusion may be needed.
What Is Lyme disease In dogs
Also known as Lyme borreliosis, it is a tick-borne disease. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria of the species Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is spread through ‘dear tick’. It can cause lameness and neurological and joint pain in affected animals. This infection can be especially harmful to the kidneys.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
- Stiffness In Joints
- Neurological and cardiac abnormalities such as depression, seizures in dogs, increased heart rate and
- Shortness of breath
- Fever and nervousness in dogs
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling at the site of the parasite bite
Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
The process for diagnosing any type of tick-borne infection is largely the same. To diagnose Lyme disease, a veterinarian may order a dog’s blood test, urine test, and stool test. Apart from this, the owner can be asked about the medical history of his dog. If needed, they may also do an antibody test.
Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Doxycycline is used for most tick-borne infections in dogs. The biggest advantage of this drug is that if this drug is used from the start of treatment, rapid improvement can be seen in infected dogs and they start feeling better within 24 hours. Apart from this, the medicine also relieves pain in the joints. There will be a clinical test after the completion of the course. If the reports come negative, it means the dog is healthy.
However, in some cases, even after negative reports, Lyme disease can re-trigger and become more aggressive than before, with damage to the kidneys and other organs.
How To Get Rid Of Tick Fever In Dogs Treatment At Home
Prevention of disease is better than cure. So try to keep your home and dog tick-free.
If there is a lawn in the house, keep a mower and keep cutting the grass from time to time. Because these ticks jump on dogs from tall grass.
Vacuum the areas where your dog spends most of his time. Also be extra careful about places that are not cleaned often like under beds, behind furniture, etc.
If you notice that your dog has ticks, use a safe but effective insecticide.
How To Remove Ticks From Dogs
Keep your hands on your dog from time to time to check for ticks. During this, if anything is felt other than the hair, then it may be that it is a tick.
To remove ticks, grab and pull them with a fine instrument. Make sure that his head does not remain inside while pulling, so do this work carefully. You can use tweezers if you want.
Never catch a tick without gloves. To kill these ticks, dip the tick in rubbing alcohol and then flush it down the toilet.
How to Keep Dogs Away From Ticks
If the dog is prone to ticks or is at high risk of infection, a tick collar may be used for some time. If you decide to use a tick collar, consider the following:
- Clean the house after wearing the tick collar.
- If you have more than one pet in the household, and one of them gets a tick infection, have them all wear tick collars, but give antibiotics to the one who has the tick infection.
- Be sure not to let the tick collar get wet, as this reduces its effectiveness.