Act quickly to treat tick-borne diseases
When pet owners consider flea and tick treatments, many are thinking about the annoyance of these pests during outdoor summer activities. Ticks, however, don’t mind winter temperatures and may become even more active as the weather cools. With their ability to transmit serious disease, they also can be a real danger to pets and humans.
In Northeast Ohio the most common tick encountered in the fall and winter is the deer tick, also called the blacklegged tick. It is large and easier to spot on a pet than some others, but if missed, this tick can spread Lyme disease, ehrlichia, anaplasmosis and rocky mountain spotted fever. All are treatable if diagnosed, so it’s important to be aware of your pets’ activities and check them regularly, especially because some symptoms are quite subtle and may not show for several months.
Diseases and symptoms
Lyme disease, passed by the deer tick
Look for stiff or swollen joints, loss of appetite and fever, possibly months after being infected
Ehrlichia, passed by the brown dog tick
Look for fever, loss of appetite and weight loss, runny eyes and nose bleeds, possibly months after being infected
Anaplasmosis, passed by the deer tick
Look for fever, loss of appetite, stiff joints; possibly vomiting, diarrhea or seizures
Rocky mountain spotted fever, passed by the American dog tick, wood tick and lone star tick
Look for fever, stiffness, skin lesions and neurological problems
Treatment of tick-borne diseases is most effective if diagnosed early. When caught in the beginning stages, most of these diseases will respond well to any of several broad-spectrum antibiotics. Your vet may also recommend giving your pet a probiotic to supplement the good bacteria that antibiotics will also destroy.
Unfortunately, tick-borne diseases can be difficult to cure, making recurrences of the disease a common problem during the treatment process. Your vet will be able to advise you of symptoms to watch for and how long your pet may need to recover and heal.
If you suspect your pet may have been bitten by a tick or may have contracted a tick-borne disease, do not wait to consult your vet. Your best chance to cure your pet is by treating the disease immediately. At Stark County Veterinary Emergency Clinic, we treat pets for all types of emergencies including illness due to tick-borne diseases.