Ticks are nasty little insects that can cause severe problems to humans and animals. They can carry many diseases, and can even be dangerous to your pet. The most common symptoms of a tick bite are redness and swelling around the site of the tick’s attachment. Symptoms may occur within a few hours or a few days.
The risk of contracting serious diseases from tick bites is much lower than from mosquitoes or other insect bites. However, it is still wise to treat a tick bite. First, remove the tick using tweezers. Then wash the bite with soap and water, and apply an antiseptic such as Neosporin.
The presence of ticks on pets can present a number of health problems for dogs and cats. A common misconception is that tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease can only be contracted by people. A number of studies in recent years have shown that some of these diseases can be transmitted by dogs and cats.
Ticks are most commonly found on dogs and children. They can also be found on other pets and wildlife, although most dogs and cats will not have direct contact with these animals. There are thousands of different kinds of ticks, each of which can transmit a different disease to a different type of animal. Most dogs and cats are not routinely exposed to ticks.
Ticks carry different diseases, depending on the types and the amount of time they spend feeding. Most tick bites on dogs and cats result in a small, red bump, called a dermatitis, at the site of the tick bite. The bump usually takes a few weeks to resolve, but untreated ticks can lead to more serious infections.
Some of the diseases transmitted by ticks include:
This is a disease that was once believed to be caused only by deer ticks. It is now understood that it can be transmitted by other ticks as well, including wood ticks, cat fleas, and even the occasional human tick bite. Symptoms of ananaplasmosis include fever, a stiff neck, and lethargy.
Rocky Mountain Fever
A relatively uncommon disease, this viral disease is also transmitted by tick bites. Symptoms include a fever, enlarged spleen, bleeding, and headaches.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a circular, red skin rash, fever, and lymph node enlargement. A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms persist after a few weeks.
Dogs with Lyme disease may appear normal for up to two weeks. After this time, the immune system may attack the bacteria, resulting in joint and bone pain, fever, anemia, and muscle wasting. In some dogs, the disease can lead to life-threatening heart and nervous system problems.
Symptoms of Tick Bites on Pets
Tick bites on pets may cause a number of symptoms. Not every animal that is bitten by ticks will show signs of illness, but common symptoms include:
A lack of energy and appetite, lethargy is one of the most common symptoms in animals with tick-borne disease. The dog or cat may have a fever and may refuse to eat.
Head shaking and ear scratching
This symptom is typically associated with an ear infection, but it can also occur when a pet has a tick in its ear canal or near the ear drum. Animals that shake their heads or scratch at their ears may be trying to get rid of the discomfort from the itchiness of a tick bite.
Small bumps may appear around the site of a tick bite, or in rare cases, ticks can be seen moving under the skin. Pets that suddenly develop small bumps should see a veterinarian to check for this problem. These bumps indicate an infection is beginning to form where the tick bit your pet. In severe cases, the pet may be sick or lethargic.
Many dogs with Lyme disease will begin to show abnormal symptoms in their salivary glands. They may drool more than usual, or their saliva may have a yellowish appearance.
Ticks can cause pets to develop a fever if they become extremely infected, but most tick bites do not result in a fever.
Many diseases transmitted by ticks can be treated with antibiotics, but some require a stay at a veterinary clinic. Fortunately, most tick-borne diseases are rare in dogs and cats.
If your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms described above after being exposed to ticks, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Prompt treatment will help protect your pet from serious health problems.
If you have been bitten by a tick, remove the insect from your body as soon as possible. You should also take steps to prevent other people or animals from being exposed to infected ticks. Prompt medical attention may be required if the bites result in a serious infection.
These are just a few of the diseases that ticks can cause in dogs and cats. If your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms described above after being exposed to ticks, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Prompt treatment will help protect your pet from serious health problems.