Dog Care: 3 Diseases Caused By Tick Bites


When your dog is not on any preventative medication for tick bites, they can become seriously ill when bitten by even a single tick. As the tick latches on to your dog to feed on their blood, they can deposit organisms, such as bacteria, which can cause a range of diseases. Ticks are commonly found in long grass and damp environments, such as woodland, and you should check your dog's skin and coat for ticks after every walk. Here's an overview of three diseases caused by tick bites.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transmitted by the deer tick. The tick has to stay on your dog's skin for several days for the disease to be transmitted, but this isn't difficult if a dog's coat is not being checked regularly. Lyme disease can cause fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, increased thirst and lameness. As the condition progresses, it can cause kidney damage, which can lead to complete kidney failure. Treatment for Lyme disease includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and intravenous fluids to treat dehydration. There is a Lyme vaccine available to protect dogs from this disease, but you would need to discuss your dog's suitability for the vaccine with your vet.


Ehrlichiosis is caused by Ehrlichia canis bacteria and can be transmitted to dogs by a number of different types of ticks. This disease affects multiple body systems, and common symptoms include swollen joints, difficulty breathing, loss of sight, loss of appetite, bruising easily, clumsiness and memory loss. Treatment for ehrlichiosis depends on the body systems that are affected, but it typically includes antibiotics, oxygen therapy, dietary changes and intravenous fluids.


Anaplasmosis is caused by Anaplasma platys bacteria and is spread to dogs by deer ticks. The bacteria infect your dog's blood platelets and cause anaemia, lameness, lethargy and eyesight changes. As the condition progresses, dogs can develop neurological symptoms, such as dementia. Anaplasmosis is treated with antibiotics, iron infusions and anti-inflammatories.

In order to protect your dog from the diseases carried by ticks, ask your vet to recommend a tick prevention product that would be suitable for them. Your vet will suggest products based on the tick population in the area you live and your dog's age and size.

If you suspect that your dog has been bitten by a tick, schedule an urgent appointment with your vet, as treatment tends to be more successful when started promptly.

To learn more, contact a vet surgery near you.


20 February 2020

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