Ticks are small obligated ectoparasites that feed by sucking the blood of their hosts. Hosts of these species can be dogs, cats, birds, humans and sometimes some amphibians as well. They live and flourish in warm and humid environments.
Their life cycle is usually divided into four stages, egg, larva, nymph and adult. Ixodid or the hard ticks generally take one year to become adults from eggs and have three hosts in its lifetime. Agrasid or the soft ticks, on the other hand, take about seven nymph stages (also known as Instars) to become a complete adult. Each of these stages requires meal in the form of the food, for reaching the next instar. This blood feeding behavior of ticks makes them the carrier of different organisms which can cause more than twelve diseases in dogs and humans alike.
Some of the most debilitating species of ticks are found in tropical countries. Tropical bont ticks have especially racked havoc in African and Caribbean countries.
Ticks are arachnids and are most active during the spring season. They hide in tall grasses and look for a chance to climb on the body of your dog. While, avoiding ticks altogether is difficult, there are some signs and symptoms that tell us that your little canine is, in fact, infected by an eight-legged creature.
Some of the common symptoms are irritation and redness at the point of infestation, inflammation, excessive stretching and trauma. However, some of the species of the tick have adapted to suppress or negate the host’s response on its infection; therefore, most of the bites are usually, painless.
Nevertheless, over the period of time, the symptoms become quite serious, like systemic illness from the infections, hypersensitivity reactions. At times, the saliva of females tick release a toxin in the blood of dogs while feeding, this toxin is responsible for tick paralysis. Other times, excessive blood consumption by the ticks can lead to a deficiency of blood in their body, which is commonly known as Anemia.
6 Symptoms of Ticks on Your Dogs
The symptoms of ticks on dogs sometimes become so prominent that the owners have to take a look and decide whatever is causing so much sudden discomfort to their dog. Ticks latch on the skin of the dog and it can cause extreme itchiness. That portion of the skin where the tick has latched becomes red with inflammation. Also, after ticks are full after feeding off your dog, they become enlarged, making it easier for the owners to spot them. It can take a few minutes to few hours for the ticks to complete sucking the blood, so the dog is going to stay irritated till then if you are not vigilant enough.
Some of the tick bites are so severe, that internal infection can develop too. Most common symptoms are—loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, pain, and depression. These symptoms start developing within twenty-four hours of tick infection and can continue to develop for a few days.
Ticks are also known to transmit many blood-borne diseases, diseases which they have been carrying. These diseases are transmitted only if the tick has managed to cling for more than ten hours on your dog.
Some of these diseases are tick paralysis, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and encephalitis. Tick diseases also affect the gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation in the entire body, impaired immune function, and a life-threatening anemia.
- Symptoms of tick paralysis
Thankfully, there are many symptoms related to this disease which can be easily seen and treated. Symptoms that appear in the initial stage of infestation are vomiting, regurgitation and unsteadiness. As the level of infection increases the symptoms start to become a bit more drastic. Increase in the rhythm of the heart (tachyarrhythmias) is common. Along with this, the dog can begin losing its ability to move its muscles. And while, at this stage, this disability would only be partial, it would become complete in a few days. Your dog can also experience excessive drooling (sialosis), asphyxia, difficulty in eating.
These symptoms would keep getting severe until your dog will lose the ability to move.
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- Symptoms of Lyme disease
One of the most common tick infected diseases is Lyme disease. It is usually difficult to detect in early stages, so much so that your dog might be infected by this diseases for a few months and you wouldn’t know, even your dog wouldn’t know.
Some of the most common diseases that start to appear after a few months are joint pain, lethargy, fever, lameness, and decreased appetite.
When humans get affected by this deer tick, then they show rashes at the point of the site, but no such rashes appear in the case of dogs.
Also, it is important to note that, your canine is not responsible for Lyme disease, that might or might not have affected you, it is the tick that is responsible.
- Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Symptoms of this disease appear within a few days of the tick bite, the ticks that spread this disease is usually found in the South and North America. Some of the few symptoms are fever, muscle or joint pain, anemia, anorexia, skin lesions, vomiting, neurological disorders and eventually, depression.
- Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis
Another one of the common diseases, almost all the dogs around the world are affected by this. An infection by a brown dog tick causes symptoms like fever, weight loss and decreased appetite, runny nose, watery eyes, bloody nose, respiratory disorders, enlarged limbs and lymph nodes, and eventually depression.
- Symptoms of Anaplasmosis
Although almost every tick bite produces fever in the canine, still this disease is especially known as ‘dog fever’. Some of the symptoms of this disease are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe situations, your dog can also have seizures.6.
- Symptoms of Hepatozoonosis
This is probably the only disease which isn’t caused by the bite of an infected tick; rather a dog suffers from this disease when it ingests an infected brown dog tick or a Gulf Coast tick. Some of the common symptoms of this disease are fever, watery eyes, runny nose, bloody diarrhea, and muscle pain.
A Closing Thought
Now you are completely cognizant about the symptoms which can be seen in a dog when it is having ticks. Do keep a check on these symptoms and take care if any one of them is noticed in your adorable pet.