THE LIST OF KNOWN DISEASES TRANSMITTED BY TICKS
Signs of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs.
They seem to be experiencing generalized pain.
They might have stopped eating.
Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers.
Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.
Non-specific signs which may indicate that Lyme disease is affecting the kidneys include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia (lack of appetite), and weight loss. The kidney form of the disease is less common, but often fatal.
It is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, followed by amoxicillin, then azithromycin. Treatment lasts for 4 weeks.
Following the treatment, the dog is not immune to getting the disease again.
Another option is vaccination. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity. Discuss the matter with your veterinarian.
Sadly babesiosis can be subtle, without apparent clinical signs. The disease affects your dog's red blood cells and can go unnoticed for a while.
However, when the disease gets more severe, it will be characterized by findings such as abnormally dark urine, fever, weakness, pale mucous membranes, depression, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged spleen.
The FDA approved treatment for babesiosis is imidocarb diproprionate. A combination therapy of quinine, azithromycin, atovaquone, and/or clindamycin is being researched and may become more common to treat dogs with in the US or Canada in the future.
Clindamycin, the treatment of choice for Babesia microti, the main Babesia species that infects humans, can also be used against Babesia in dogs. Clindamycin is a readily available antibiotic and is an excellent starting point for treatment in many dogs.
There are no current vaccine approved against babesiosis.
Infection with the more common form of anaplasmosis often causes lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and anorexia (lack of appetite).
Most infected dogs will have symptoms for 1 to 7 days; however, some will have no or only minor symptoms. Less common clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and labored breathing.
A slightly different form can cause a decrease in your dog's platelets (circulating cells that help in the blood clotting process). Some dogs may develop bruising or bleeding (including nosebleeds).
The treatment for canine anaplasmosis is the antibiotic doxycycline. Many infected dogs are treated for 2-4 weeks (the longer course more often if co-infected with Lyme disease). In the majority of cases, symptoms improve rapidly. Dogs are often markedly better 24 to 48 hours after therapy is begun, and the prognosis for clinical recovery is excellent.
Alright this one is slightly different. Flavivirus is not a disease in itself. It is a family of viruses.
It includes 53 viruses, but the most common are the Powassan virus, West Nile virus, Yellow fever virus & Tick-borne encephalitis virus.
This last one, Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBE), seems to be the one that can affect dogs.
This disease is often characterized for instance by fever, apathy, weakness, reduced consciousness, lethargy, anorexia, ataxia, hyperalgesia and neurological disturbances.
There is no specific treatment for TBE. The best way is to consult with your vet as soon as possible to decide on a treatment.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER
In dogs, the signs of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be vague and non-specific.
But typically, a dog that has become infected with RMSF may have one or more of the following clinical signs: poor appetite, non-specific muscle or joint pain, fever, coughing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the face or legs, or depression.
Alone these signs are non-specific. But because you just removed a tick from your dog, these signs will probably mean your dog has the RMSF.
Focal hemorrhages may occur in the eyes and gums, as well as nosebleeds in severe cases. Neurological signs such as wobbling when walking (ataxia) and painful hypersensitivity can also be seen.
Doxycycline is the preferred antibiotic for the majority of cases and may be given from anywhere to 7-21 days depending on the dose. Tetracycline is also effective but requires more frequent administration and is given for 14-21 days. Neither of these drugs should be given to young animals or females that may become pregnant.
Finally, if the disease is diagnosed in its early stages and treatment is started immediately, the prognosis for successful treatment (chances of recovery) is excellent.
Tularemia is a rare infection in dogs and dogs are known to be less susceptible to illness than other species. Tularemia is often self-limiting although some dogs experience short periods of poor appetite, lethargy, and mild fever. Less frequently, dogs may show conjunctivitis, uveitis (inflammation in their eyes), draining abscesses, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics. Dogs may require hospitalization with supportive care (intravenous fluid therapy). Draining abscesses should be surgically removed.
Signs of ehrlichiosis can be divided into three stages: acute (early disease), sub-clinical (no outward signs of disease), and clinical or chronic (long-standing infection).
For each phase, the symptoms vary.
In this stage, infected dogs may have fever, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory distress, weight loss, bleeding disorders (spontaneous hemorrhage or bleeding), and occasionally, neurological disturbances (they may seem unsteady or develop meningitis). This stage may last two to four weeks and some dogs may eliminate the infection or head in to the sub-clinical phase.
The sub-clinical phase is often considered the worst phase because there are no clinical signs and therefore the disease goes undetected.
Dogs are likely to develop a host of problems: anemia, bleeding episodes, lameness, eye problems (including hemorrhage into the eyes or blindness), neurological problems, and swollen limbs.
Certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are quite effective. A long course of treatment, generally four weeks, is needed. This is the treatment of choice as it is easily accessible and generally well tolerated. Alternatively, imidocarb (not available in Canada) can be used intravenously.
Dogs experiencing severe anemia or bleeding problems may require a blood transfusion. However, this does nothing to treat the underlying disease.
Listen, we know this is stressful, and there's a lot of stuff to remember.
Over the next weeks, you need to look out for symptoms of the diseases mentioned above.
So we made you a PDF that you can print or save in your phone. This guide sums up the symptoms of each disease.
A quick look at it will tell you if you need to worry.