As the weather gets warmer, ticks and fleas become more active. And that means they’re more likely to latch onto your pet. Aside from other parasites like a tapeworm, your beloved furry friend may suffer from more serious diseases that these insects can transmit.
Most Common Disease Ticks and Fleas Can Transmit
Here are some of the most common diseases that your dog may contract from ticks and fleas:
1. Lyme Disease
Black-legged ticks can transmit this condition, also called deer ticks. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, Lameness, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause long-term health problems for your dog, including kidney failure and heart problems.
In severe cases, a customized treatment plan from your vet may be necessary to manage the condition. A dog positive with Lyme disease will receive antibiotics for at least four weeks.
Only 5 to 10% of infected dogs are expected to show clinical signs, often during the chronic stage of Lyme disease at 2 to 5 months after infection. Sometimes these clinical signs can develop much later.
- Loss of appetite
- Painful or swollen joints
- Lameness that comes and goes
- Swollen lymph nodes
2. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
RMSF is transmitted by the American dog tick, brown dog tick, and lone star tick. It’s one of the dogs’ most serious tick-borne illnesses and can be fatal if not treated immediately.
- A pet with Rocky Mountain spotted fever may also have nosebleeds and a bloody stool.
As the disease progresses, your dog may develop neurological problems and suffer from seizures. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and intensive supportive care.
This is another potentially deadly disease that can be transmitted by the brown dog tick, Gulf Coast tick, and lone star tick. Ehrlichiosis affects the white blood cells, which help the body fight infection.
Symptoms of ehrlichiosis include:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- difficulty breathing
You may also notice that your dog’s gums are pale. In some cases, they may even develop bruising. Vets recommend Doxycycline for ehrlichiosis, and it’s essential to catch the disease early so your pet can be treated before it progresses.
This malaria-like disease is transmitted by the brown dog tick, and the lone star tick. It’s relatively rare but can be deadly if not treated promptly. In severe cases, multiple organs are affected, including the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver, etc.
- loss of appetite
- dark urine
- pale gums
5. Flea-Borne Typhus
This disease is transmitted by infected fleas and can cause severe illnesses in dogs, including fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In some instances, it can even lead to death.
While it’s not as common as Lyme disease, flea-borne typhus is still a serious threat to your pet’s health. If you think your pet has contracted the disease, take them to the vet immediately.
- Loss of appetite
- In severe cases, flea-borne typhus can lead to death
Preventing Tick and Flea-borne Diseases in Dogs
Below are tips to help prevent your dog from contracting a tick or flea-borne disease:
- Keep your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations, including the Lyme disease vaccine.
- Check your dog for ticks after staying outside, especially if they have been in tall grass or woods.
- Use a tick preventative year-round, even if you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of ticks.
- Remove ticks immediately if you see them on your dog and take them to the vet to be checked out.
- Clean your yard and keep it free of debris where ticks and fleas could hide.
- Have your pet treated for fleas and ticks regularly by a professional pest control company.
- Educate yourself about the symptoms of tick and flea-borne diseases so you can catch them early and get your dog the treatment they need.
Ticks and fleas are more than just a nuisance. They can also transfer serious diseases to your dog. By taking preventive steps and being aware of the symptoms of tick and flea-borne diseases, you can help protect your dog and keep them healthy and safe.
While keeping them protected from these parasites, always keep in mind to watch out for other conditions, such as dental problems (see this link for more info) and other diseases that they may acquire.