Ticks are not just a nuisance, they can carry serious diseases that affect your pet’s overall health and longevity. These parasites can attach to your pets (and your human family members!), feeding on their blood for days at a time and transmitting dangerous diseases.
Is your pet on a regular tick preventive? Here are eight reasons your pet needs year-round protection:
#1: Lyme disease
Transmitted by the deer tick after feeding on a dog or cat for about 48 hours, Lyme disease can cause lameness, fever, reduced appetite, swollen lymph nodes and joints, kidney disease, nervous system disorders, and heart problems. There is a Lyme disease vaccine available for dogs, but not for cats.
Less than a month after a tick bite, a dog may show signs of ehrlichiosis, which can include diminished appetite, depression, bruising, and painful joints. There is no vaccine available for ehrlichiosis, and antibiotics are often given to treat the disease.
#3: Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Both dogs and cats can be infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but it is most common in dogs. This disease can cause lameness and painful joints, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, depression, and reduced appetite. Severe cases can lead to liver and kidney damage, heart abnormalities, pneumonia, and seizures. No vaccine is available, and antibiotics are used to treat Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Babesiosis can affect dogs and cats, but signs of the disease—depression, pale gums, fever, dark urine, swollen lymph nodes, sudden collapse, and shock—are typically more severe in dogs. There is no vaccine for babesiosis.
Ticks and fleas can transmit tularemia. Cats may experience nasal discharge, swollen lymph nodes, and a high fever, while dogs may exhibit depression, reduced appetite, and a fever. There is no vaccine for tularemia, and antibiotics are used to treat the disease.
#6: Tick paralysis
Caused by a toxin secreted by ticks that affects the nervous system in mammals, tick paralysis can cause a dog’s rear legs to become weak about 7 days after a tick bite. Eventually, all limbs are weak, and the dog can experience difficulty breathing and swallowing, and even death. An antitoxin is available for tick paralysis.
Dogs and cats infected with anaplasmosis may exhibit pain in the joints, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and nervous system abnormalities. Antibiotics may be necessary to treat anaplasmosis.
Cytauxzoonosis can cause cats to become anemic, develop a high fever, become depressed, have difficulty breathing, and become jaundiced (yellowing of the skin). Death can occur within one week of infection. Treatment is often unsuccessful, but can include specialized medications, intravenous fluids, and supportive care. There is no vaccine for cytauxzoonosis.
Ready to protect your pet from these diseases? Trophy Club Animal Hospital performs annual parasite screens with blood panels, fecal analysis, and physical examinations. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.