Beware tick diseases coming to a town near you!

tick diseases

One in twelve dogs test positive for tick diseases in Oklahoma.  If you live in Oklahoma, your dog is at high risk for tick diseases.  Dr. Anna Coffin will review the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of tick disease.

Tick diseases are spread when a tick feeds on your pet. 

They transmit bacteria that infect white blood cells of dogs and cats.  There are many different tick diseases;  a specific tick transmits each and many are common in certain regions of the United States.  Most people are familiar with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Here in Oklahoma, the most common one is the Ehlichia sp and are transmitted by the brown dog tick.

Symptoms:

  • Lethargic
  • Fever
  • Anorexic
  • Bruising of the skin or mucous membranes
  • Yellow or green eye and nose discharge
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody nose

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis of tick disease is based on clinical signs and blood work.  At Guthrie Pet Hospital, Dr. Anna Coffin performs a parasite screening test that detects adult heartworms in the heart and antibodies for six different tick diseases.  This specific test tells us that your pet has been exposed to theses tick diseases.  A PCR test or blood smear would help confirm an active infection in your pet.

Treatment:

Doxycycline is the treatment of choice for all tick-transmitted disease.  Steroids are recommended if your pet is having clotting problems due to a tick disease.  It is very important to make sure that your feed your pet a full meal before giving doxycycline as this antibiotic can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Do not give doxycycline with milk or cheese products as it will inactivate the antibiotic and not be effective.  Antibiotics need to be given for 28 days to clear the tick disease.tick diseases

Prevention:

The best prevention is to prevent ticks from attaching to your pet.  There are many products available as topical, oral and collars that are very effective in controlling tick infestations. 

Humans are at risk for many of these tick diseases.  They can not be transmitted directly from your pet to you.  A tick bite is necessary to transmit the tick diseases.  [Tweet “Tick diseases can’t be transmitted directly from your pet to you. A tick bite is necessary.”]

 

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