Tick Bite Symptoms And Diseases

Ticks can transmit a number of diseases to pets, including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Cytauxzoonosis and Hepatozoonosis.

The incidence of these diseases varies by state and by the types of ticks found in the area. Some ticks can also cause "tick paralysis", which is due to a toxin from the tick itself rather than an organism that the tick is carrying. Many of the diseases can be transmitted to humans should they be bitten by a tick themselves.

The warning signs that a pet has been bitten by a tick vary with the species of tick and the specific disease, but there are a some general signs pet owners should look out for, including:

If you suspect a tick-related disease, take your pet to the veterinarian to have it diagnosed and treated. If caught early, most tick afflictions are curable.

"If you suspect a tick-related disease, take your pet to the veterinarian to have it diagnosed and treated. If caught early, most tick afflictions are curable."

Ticks, particularly the larger engorged females, can be readily seen on your pet's skin. However they tend to hide in the ears, between the toes, under the lips, at the back of the neck, in the armpits and groin areas, under collars and under the tail. Ticks are mainly found in areas where the animal cannot lick or bite, so owner should make sure they inspect pets on a daily basis in all of these hidden areas.

It can take hours or even days before ticks can transmit diseases to your pet, so the earlier they are removed, the less likely it is that they will have transferred any affliction.

Anti-tick treatments
Pet Shed's most popular solutions for ridding your pet of ticks

Walking through high-risk areas during the tick season (generally from May to August or September), should alert owners to a greater risk of a tick attaching itself somewhere on a pet's body. Typical tick high-risk areas include woodlands, tall grass and bush areas and mountainous areas.

The length of the tick season varies from state to state, so consult your veterinarian for accurate information regarding your local area.

If you find a tick on your pet, it should be removed immediately. Do not touch the tick with your fingers. Use tweezers or a tick scoop to gently pull the tick out backwards, ensuring that the mouth parts are not left embedded in the skin. It is a good idea to keep the tick in a sealed jar so it can assist the veterinarian's diagnosis in the event that your pet develops signs of disease.

If you do suspect a tick-related disease, take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible - the earlier treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

References
Farley D. Fighting Fleas and Ticks. In: FDA Consumer. US Food and Drug Administration. 30:6, 1996. http://www.fda.gov
Payne P.A., Dryden M.W., Carter G.R. External Parasitic Diseases of Dogs and Cats. In: A Concise Guide to Infectious and Parasitic Diseases of Dogs and Cats International Veterinary Information Service, Ithaca NY. www.ivis.org
Tilley L.P., Smith F.W.K. The Five Minute Veterinary Consult Canine and Feline. Second Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 2000.
Vredevoe L. Background Information on the Biology of Ticks. Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis. http://entomology.ucdavis.edu
What you should know about External Parasites. American Veterinary Medical Association. Schaumberg, IL. www.avma.org