Last updated on April 26, 2021 bycanine vets
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Tick bites in dogs - treatment, prevention and causes
When you find a tick bite on your dog, you may feel disgusted and worried. Maybe the thought turns your stomach. Or maybe you're concerned about the risks ticks pose to your pet and family. One thing is certain, however: ticks are undoubtedly a feared enemy.
What is a tick bite?
Besides the obvious "nasty" factor, a tick bite can transmit disease, cause anemia or infection, and even cause a rare but serious condition in dogs called "tick paralysis." As a dog owner, familiarize yourself with the basics of tick removal and prevention, and educate yourself about the disease risks. With the right knowledge and information, you can both protect your dog from the dangers of ticks and know how to deal with a bite if your dog gets one.
What are the symptoms of a tick bite on a dog?
Most tick bites on dogs can be detected by simply running your hand through your dog's fur and noticing any lumps or bumps on the surface. Ticks often attach themselves to crevices or areas with little to no hair. Pay special attention to the soft, warm area around the face, ears, and neck, and also check the limbs, particularly the armpits and groin area.
In light-colored dogs, it can be easy to spot a brown or black bump protruding from the skin. This can be a celebratory tick. However, darker colored dogs may need further evaluation for adherent ticks or scabs, or wounds left by the offender. However, if a tick was recently placed, it may not be very large. Even on light-colored dogs, small ticks are sometimes difficult to find.
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Not all ticks carry disease, and just because a tick has been found on your dog doesn't necessarily mean he's infected with something. However, tick-borne diseases can be life-threatening, so the risk of a bite should be taken seriously.
However, most tick-borne diseases require a tick to feed for several hours in order to transmit the infection to a host. The sooner a tick is located and carefully removed, the lower the risk of disease transmission.
The most common symptoms of many tick-borne diseases in the United States — such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis — begin with fever and lethargy.
Some diseases can also cause weakness, lameness, joint swelling, or anemia. Tick paralysis can result in a gradual appearance of clumsy gait that develops into paralysis. These signs usually subside soon after the ticks are removed.
If you notice any signs of illness related to a tick bite in your dog, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible so that proper examination and necessary treatment can begin. Also note that it can take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms of certain tick-borne diseases to appear.
Causes of tick bites in dogs
Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of their hosts. Drawn to warmth and movement, they seek out mammals—including humans, dogs, and cats—to latch on and bite. Most tick species go through four life stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. And in order to mature, a tick must feed on blood throughout all of its growth stages.
Depending on the species, a tick can live for several months to years.
The most common species of tick in the United States, it usually lives in tall grasses, wooded areas, or shrubs, waiting for potential hosts (this is also called "questions“).
When a host comes by, the tick climbs aboard and attaches its mouthparts to the skin to begin its blood meal. The tick may continue to eat for several hours to days and will not detach until the meal is complete.
Treatment and how to remove ticks from your dog
To remove a tick from your dog, first find a pair of clean, fine-tipped tweezers. Next, pull the hair from the surrounding bite area and place the tweezers as close to the dog's skin as possible, gently pinching the tick. Using light pressure, pull straight out (without twisting) until you feel the tick release its grip and you can pull it away from the skin.
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Try not to grab the tick too tightly so you can puncture its body and potentially release blood and pathogens. And never try to burn it off with a lit match, as this can cause the tick to release more saliva (and toxins) to your pet.
Once the tick is removed, place it in a sealed plastic bag or jar with alcohol and call your vet for inspection and identification. Finally, clean the wound with alcohol and apply a small amount of topical antibiotic to the wound.
Easy The best way to remove a tick
The best way to remove a tick on a dog is to rip it off as soon as possible.DR the boyand dr Kimsey agree.
- Use very fine-tipped tweezers. "They also sell commercial tick removers, but basically they all do the same thing."DR the boysays.
- Hold the tick very close to the pet's skin - as close as possible.
- Gently pull straight out to detach the tick.
Finding and removing ticks quickly is important as it affects the likelihood of disease transmission. "The tick must actually bite the dog and remain attached to it for at least 24 hours, but typically 48 hours, before the Lyme disease-causing proteins pass from the tick into the dog's bloodstream,"DR the boysays.
Because of this, he doesn't recommend using other methods like covering the tick with rubbing alcohol or petroleum jelly to prevent the tick from detaching.
Signs your dog has Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a serious bacterial infection that can cause severe symptoms in dogs. Not all infected dogs continue to have problems, but those that do can become very ill. The bacterium that causes Lyme disease is carried by ticks found in the UK and can be transmitted to both dogs and humans if bitten by an infected tick.
Human cases of Lyme disease in the UK have been increasing in recent years and both dogs and dog owners walking in areas where ticks are present are at risk of the disease.
When dogs show symptoms with Lyme disease, they may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
Always talk to your veterinarian if your dog shows any of these signs or any other unusual symptoms. Your dog may not show any signs for weeks or even months after the bite. If your dog is unwell and you know a tick bite him, even if it seems like a while ago, always tell your veterinarian. Your vet can run some tests to determine if your dog has the condition and can prescribe antibiotic treatment if necessary.
How do ticks get on humans and dogs?
The main carrier of Lyme disease is the black-footed tick (Ixodes scapularis), also known as the “deer tick” or “bear tick”. The tick acquires the Lyme disease bacterium when it feeds on an infected animal, such as a mouse, deer, or other mammal, and then transmits the bacterium to the next animal it feeds on.
Ticks don't jump or fly. You can only crawl. They enter their host by waiting at the tops of vegetation. For example, when a dog or person brushes against a bush, the tick quickly grabs, and then crawls to find a place to bite.
What happens when a tick bites a human?
Most tick bites are painless and cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as redness, swelling, or skin pain. However, some ticks transmit bacteria that cause diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In general, a tick must be attached for at least 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease.
Can a person get Lyme disease from their dogs?
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for humans. Lyme disease can only be transmitted from one pet to another, or from a pet to a human, through tick bites. However, a vector tick could get into your home through your dog's coat and infect you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, chances are you and other pets have been in the same outdoor environment and could also be at risk. As such, it is recommended that you consult your doctor and veterinarian to determine if you should test other pets or family members.
What happens if the tick head stays on the dog?
If you try to remove a tick but its head or mouthparts remain in your pet, don't panic. They killed the tick and removed its body to avoid a serious risk of disease transmission. However, the remaining parts could still lead to infection in the attached area.
How to prevent tick bites in dogs?
To prevent ticks from transmitting disease to your dog, there are two options: "You should vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease and use a good preventative."DR the boysays. "Nothing is 100% and you just want to make sure your pet is fully protected."
Yes, that's right - unlike humans, dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Your veterinarian may decide to administer the vaccine depending on where you live. (Lyme disease occurs primarily in the Northeast and Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the Centers for Disease Control).
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Preventive products provide a second layer of protection. "If you use a reputable tick repellent product like Nexgard, Frontline or Advantix, the tick will ingest the blood and die quickly."DR the boyexplained. And since it can take a day or more for an attached tick to transmit a pathogen, these substances help prevent time for that to happen.
Other tick-borne dog diseases
Tick bites on your dog:Ticks can also transmit some other less common but serious bacterial diseases in dogs, includinganaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Anaplasmosis can have symptoms similar to Lyme disease.Babesiosecan present with a variety of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressive infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases involves blood tests similar to those used to screen for Lyme disease.
Sometimes dogs and humans contract the same disease through "co-infection" of multiple tick-borne diseases, in which more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more difficult and challenging.
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