Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of host animals such as dogs. Ticks are 8 legged parasites that belong to the spider family arachnids like mites and spiders. Rhipicephalus sanguineus (The brown dog tick), Dermacentor variabilis ( the American dog tick) and, Ixodes scapularis (deer tick or black legged tick): examples of ticks that commonly affect dogs, require three feedings to complete their life cycles.
Ticks are visible to the naked eye and are most active in warm climates from spring through fall, they are living in grass and wooded areas where they may attach to dogs playing on their turf. Tick infestations can be anywhere on a dog’s body, but commonly close to the head, neck, feet and ear area. It’s a good idea to check your dog regularly for these parasites particularly during the warmer months. Since it may only take a few hours for disease to be transmitted from an attached tick, take your dog to be evaluated by a veterinarian if you find any tick
life cycle of ticks includes several stages – larva, nymph, and adult. Species such as the Deer Tick can transmit diseases in their larval and nymph stages.
Ticks can transfer many disease to their host animal such as,
• Lyme disease, transmitted by black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick, dog may not show signs of the disease until several months after infected. Symptoms can be lameness, stiffness, swollen joints, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue.
• Canine Ehrlichiosis, found worldwide, infection caused by the brown dog tick. Symptoms may be noticed months after transmission, and can include loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, depression, nose bleeds, runny eyes and nose and swollen limbs.
• Canine Anaplasmosis, also called dog tick fever, is transmitted from the deer tick. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, stiff joints, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, dogs may suffer seizures.
• Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever cause by Rickettsia rickettsii and transmitted by the American dog tick and the wood tick. Symptoms include stiffness, fever, skin lesions and neurological problems
• Canine Babesiosis is commonly transmitted by the brown Rocky Mountain Spotted FeverRocky Mountain Spotted Feverdog tick and the American dog tick. Causing anemia, pale gums, and weakness.
• Canine Bartonellosis comes from the brown dog tick. Symptoms are intermittent lameness and fever.
• Canine Hepatozoonosis is thought to be transmitted by the brown dog tick. Symptoms are fever, muscle pain, runny eyes and nose and bloody diarrhea.
In addition to all abovementioned tick borne diseases, ticks can also cause anemia, tick paralysis, Skin irritation and inflammation.