Tick borne diseases in dogs in Texas is very prevalent. Be sure to be on the lookout this spring and summer for the occasional tick that may find your dog or cat. Ticks can be just a nuisance, but can also cause serious, life threatening disease. Heavy infestations can cause blood loss anemia, which can be fatal. But ticks can also serve as a vector for several major diseases in humans and in pets.
Texas has within it’s tick population a supply of infectious agents that can cause serious damage to your pet. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis are tick borne illnesses that cause serious diseases in dogs (and, of course, in humans). These tick borne infectious agents cause a variety of serious symptoms depending on which “bug” is causing the infection. Bleeding from low platelet counts, joint swellings, fever, appetite loss, weight loss, internal organ damage all can occur when your dog is infected with a tick borne disease. While we do have blood tests to detect these diseases, quick diagnoses can sometimes be challenging, since symptoms can often look like other diseases.
Successful treatment of these tick borne diseases depends on many factors, such as timely diagnosis, age and condition of the pet, degree of organ damage, and health of immune system and bone marrow. Treatment usually involves several weeks of certain antibiotics given orally, along with other meds that support the pet while they recover. Subsequent blood tests help to monitor response to treatment.
Obviously, the best way to prevent tick borne diseases is to prevent ticks on your dog in the first place. Solid tick control is a little more difficult to achieve than flea control. Most of the old fashioned organophosphate dips have long been discontinued due to environmental concerns. But there are a handful of tick control products that we like. There is a collar with a specific tick (not flea) ingredient that does a good job. The heartworm prevention product, Revolution, has a tick label for certain species of ticks. And one of our favorite flea products, Bravecto, actually does a good job on ticks for two months.
It’s very important if you live in an area that is tick infested to check your pets daily for tick attachment. Pet them, running your hands all around the trunk of their body looking for that bump that is a tick attached. Then be sure to check between the toes and inside the ears, since this is a favorite place to hide for our ticks here in Whitehouse, Tyler, and East Texas.
To get more information regarding tick control, call us at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital at 903-839-7235.