With the first day of summer just over a month away, in some parts of the country tick season is well underway. Spring is an especially vulnerable time for pets as pet owners who let flea and tick prevention lapse over the winter may fail to pick it back up again in time to prevent those first few tick bites of the season. Aside from being an irritant to you and your pet, ticks carry all sorts of deadly diseases that are easily transmitted to you or your pet. Do you know what the diseases are and how to spot the symptoms in your pets?
Identify Ticks here:
Common Tick Diseases and their Symptoms
- Lyme Disease- A particularly deadly tick disease that may be hard to spot in pets until well after they have been infected. The main symptom is a general malaise in your pet. Fatigue, loss of appetite, and lameness in one or more legs are all earmarks of this very serious sickness. If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms and you have any reason to believe they may have suffered a tick bite within the last few months, be sure to as your vet to test them.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever (RMSF) – This sickness is typically carried by what is commonly known as the “dog tick” and can result in pretty severe sickness for at least a couple weeks, sometimes resulting in death. Don’t let the name of this disease fool you either while it is more frequent in the Rocky Mountain states, it has been found country-wide. Symptoms in pets for this tick disease include stiffness and/or difficulty walking due to neurological effects, blood in the urine or nose bleeds, swelling of the limbs, and lethargy. This sickness usually results in pet hospitalization and treatment.
- Anaplasmosis – This disease comes from the same ticks that transmit Lyme Disease. There are actually two different variations of anaplasmosis with similar symptoms. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, nose bleeds, and high fever. If your pet tests positive for this tick disease, it can be treated with antibiotics and your pet should start improving in 2-4 days!
- Ehrlichiosis – This tick disease can vary in severity, affecting your pet’s quality of life for a few weeks, months, or even years. In very severe cases, pets may require blood transfusions. Symptoms include weight loss, pain in joints, depression, coughing, vomiting, and fever.
What better reason do you need to stay on top of your pets flea and tick prevention this year? Ticks don’t limit themselves to dogs or cats either. Any pet that spends time outside should be treated regularly. Be sure to use treatment specific to your pet though. What works for dogs can be very dangerous for rabbits or ferrets!
Some tick-borne illness can affect humans too so keeping your pet tick free ensures the health of the whole family! Remember, if your pet is acting out of the ordinary always be sure to have your vet consider these tick borne illnesses before the disease is allowed to progress into something very, very serious!