Tick disease is silent at first and you need to be aware that its effects can be devastating if not identified and treated quickly
Concerned parents are conscientious parents. If you have a pet this phrase must be part of you.
Tick disease is silent at first and you need to be aware that its effects can be devastating if not identified and treated quickly. More important than knowing the disease is to prevent ticks.
Most dog owners are afraid of tick disease. In fact, the disease is transmitted by the tick and can be fatal in most cases. Dog ticks, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, by sucking blood from the host can inoculate two main disease agents that cause together or separately what everyone calls “tick disease”.
What causes tick disease?
The canine tick, known as Rhipicefalus sanguineus or brown tick, is the transmitting agent of both erlichiosis and canine babesiosis. The first is caused by Erlichia canis, which is an intracellular bacterium of the genus Ricketsiae.
Forms of contamination of tick disease
When the tick sucks the dog’s blood, it ends up injecting the tick’s disease agents. These agents (Erlichia and Babesia) spread in the dog’s circulation and start to cause the disease. In humans, there is no scientific evidence of contamination of this type of disease, but something similar can happen like spotted fever, for example, also transmitted by ticks.
Evolution of the disease
After contamination, both agents spread, Erlichia canis has a preference for white blood cells and Babesia has an affinity for red blood cells. These infected cells end up dying or being eliminated from the dog’s organism causing the main symptoms associated with the disease.
Symptoms of tick disease
Also known as canine sadness, tick disease can cause a wide range of symptoms in its acute form. In chronic form, it can go months or years unnoticed and for some reason manifest itself long after the contamination.
The main symptoms are: fever, apathy, prostration, weight loss, loss of appetite, bloody stools, bloody urine, increased urine color, clotting difficulty, nosebleeds etc.
The diagnosis of tick disease is based on findings from anamnesis (clinical history), clinical examination during consultation and laboratory tests.
One of the main findings is a drop in white and red blood cells in the blood count, as well as a drop in platelet count. Serology can be performed if the diagnosis has not yet been completed with the pet’s history and clinical examination
How to treat tick disease?
It all depends on the severity and stage of the disease. In more severe cases, hospitalization with blood or platelet transfusions may be necessary. Antibiotic-based medical treatment is the most widely used for tick disease (whether erlichiosis or babesiosis).
Traditional supportive measures such as good nutrition, vitamins and deworming can help the dog’s general condition and improve response to treatment.
Prevention starts with the control of ticks, that is, we must use products to repel or kill ticks in the dog. It is important to be aware of the frequency of application of the medication chosen for the control, since each formula has a duration of action.