The number of ticks in the United States is believed to be rising, and certainly causing an increased amount of reported tick bites each year. Understandably, tick-borne diseases are a worry for many pet owners. Nevertheless, the more information you have about them, the better equipped you are to make important decisions regarding your pet’s care and keeping her safe from the infections that might harm her.
There are many different types of tick-borne disease
Many people try and categorize all tick-borne diseases as being one and the same thing. However, there are different types of tick-borne disease which are determined depending on the strain of bacteria or virus that it transmits. For example, Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma Phagocytophilium, while Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by the R. rickettsia bacterial species.
These differences affect the way in which your pet is likely to be affected and the symptoms that she will present with. Nevertheless, there are some symptoms that are common across all tick-borne diseases including loss of appetite, lethargy, fever and joint pain.
Tick-borne diseases that could affect your pet
Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States that could potentially affect your pet include:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
For a full list of the tick-borne diseases currently known in the United States, please visit the CDC website.
Tick-borne diseases do not only affect dogs
While dogs are the natural host for many parasites, including ticks, many varieties of the arachnid are much less fussy about where they source their blood. This means that cats, rabbits and other mammals and even humans can be bitten, and this puts all of the above at risk of contracting a tick-borne disease.
Not all tick-borne diseases affect all creatures
Some types of pet at more at risk of specific tick-borne diseases than others. For example, Tularemia is significantly more likely to affect cats than it is dogs. On the flip side, Lyme disease (which is the most common tick-borne disease in the world) is fairly uncommon in cats.
Tick-borne diseases are treatable
In the majority of cases, provided that a diagnosis has been made early enough, tick-borne diseases are entirely treatable. This usually involves administering a strong antibiotic medication twice a day for around a month, but of course you should follow the specific instructions provided by our veterinarian at Heartland Animal Hospital. In some instances, it may be necessary for a second course of antibiotics to also be given.
In cases where your pet is late being diagnosed or has become unwell very quickly, our vet may also supply additional care and treatment in the form of pain relief, fluids or blood transfusions. This will be discussed to you ahead of the treatment being given.
Tick-borne diseases are preventable
Any loving and conscientious owner wants to protect their pet from unnecessary pain and suffering, and tick preventive treatment enables you to do just that. By ensuring that you undertake a robust schedule of preventive care, you can protect your pet from the effects of a tick bite.
There are many preventives available including:
- Spot-on treatments
- Oral medications
Many of the preventives currently on the market also combine tick protection with added flea preventatives in the same solution.
For further information about tick-borne diseases, do not hesitate to call our vets in Boiling Springs, SC at Heartland Animal Hospital.