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Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs You Need To Know

  • Dog Care

As a dog owner, you know how important it is to understand some diseases that may affect your furry friend. And while most people are aware of the obvious ones like parvo and distemper, there are also many tick-borne diseases that you should be mindful of.

These can range from Lyme disease to Rocky Mountain spotted fever and can be tricky to diagnose if you aren’t knowledgeable about the symptoms. However, by understanding these different conditions, you can be aware of how to protect your dog and spot them early on if they develop.

How To Spot And Remove A Tick On Your Dog


Ticks are a nuisance for dogs and their owners alike; however, knowing how to spot and remove them properly can be a time-saver and prevent the further spread of disease. The first step after spotting one on your pup is to take some long tweezers or specialized tick removal tools from the store and get a good grasp of the tick’s head, which has burrowed itself into the dog’s skin. Once you have a firm grip, pull it out slowly and evenly in an outward motion.

It is important to avoid squeezing as this may lead to bacteria and other dangerous substances entering your pup’s bloodstream. Clean and sanitize the affected area after removing it and dispose of the tick – preferably in a sealed container. This way, if your dog begins showing any symptoms, such as fever and lethargy, you can take them to the vet right away for treatment.

Tick-Borne Diseases In Dogs

Although it may be difficult to completely prevent your dogs from coming in contact with ticks, there are a few things that you can do to help safeguard your pup from these pesky little critters. The first is to be aware of some of the different tick-borne diseases in dogs and the signs and symptoms they may present! Here are a few of the most common conditions:

Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is an infectious disorder that affects dogs and other mammals, transmitted by a tick. This tick-borne illness can induce physical and neurological symptoms in canines, such as joint or limb pain, difficulty walking, loss of appetite, fatigue, facial paralysis, and seizures. Diagnosis for the condition will happen after laboratory tests detect antibodies in the animal’s bloodstream.

Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics ranging from two to four weeks but may also require anti-irritant therapies depending on the severity of symptoms. Knowing what signs to look out for and taking preventative measures such as tick control through regular checks will go a long way in safeguarding your pet against Lyme disease.



Babesiosis, a parasitic infection caused by a protozoan called Babesia, is a common yet severe problem dogs face after being bitten by a tick. The parasites multiply in red blood cells and can often cause anemia due to their destruction. Symptoms of the disease vary depending on the type and severity of the infection but commonly include fever, lethargy, reduced appetite, and pale gums. In more severe cases, the animal may also experience symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing.

Diagnosing and treating babesiosis in dogs should be handled with great care by a licensed veterinarian, as further complications can arise if not done correctly. Early diagnosis is critical in properly caring for any dog that contracts babesiosis. With adequate treatment and prevention measures like vaccination or tick control, many dogs can live healthy lives while coping with this condition.



Anaplasmosis is an infectious and often mild disease found in dogs, primarily caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Ticks can only spread this illness, so you should take regular preventative measures such as tick medication and checks to keep your pup safe! Fortunately, once spotted early, you can manage symptoms like fever, joint pain, and loss of appetite with antibiotics from the vet.

Be sure to act quickly if you suspect your canine companion has contracted anaplasmosis, as it can become severe or even life-threatening if left untreated for too long. To diagnose the condition, your veterinarian will conduct a blood test to check for antibodies in your dog’s bloodstream. However, with proper care and preventative measures, an anaplasmosis infection can be effectively treated and prevented from reoccurring.



Bartonellosis is a growing problem for pet owners, and cases continue to rise in dogs after getting a tick bite. It is an infectious disease that can affect both humans and animals, which means pet owners must be aware of the symptoms and signs of this disease so that they can catch it early and start treatment. In addition, Bartonellosis presents differently in different animals, as dogs often exhibit severe clinical signs while cats may have no visible symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Lameness or stiffness due to joint infection
  • Poor coat condition due to bleeding beneath the skin’s surface caused by increased fragility of blood vessels
  • Inflammation in the lymph system

Treatment of the disease typically requires antibiotics and supportive care such as fluids and rest, but if left untreated can result in death or extreme disability. Therefore, pet owners should be vigilant when watching their pets for any signs or symptoms of the disease and consult their veterinarian promptly if anything seems out of the ordinary.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Rocky Mountain spotted fever is another serious and potentially deadly disease for dogs. It is due to bacteria transmitted via an infected tick bite and can have severe consequences if not adequately treated. The first signs of infection usually include fever, listlessness, spotted rash on the lower body, swollen lymph nodes, and coughing or sneezing. Occasionally it can also cause more “flu-like” symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

With that, some owners have seen a dulling of the dog’s mental function, like a lack of energy or interest in activities. If you notice these signs in your dog, be sure to consult your vet right away. The illness must be diagnosed and treated promptly to prevent further complications such as developing pneumonia or other life-threatening conditions.



Another serious tick-borne disease to watch out for in dogs is hepatozoonosis due to a microscopic parasite called Hepatozoon canis. Like many tick-transmitted illnesses, early detection and treatment are essential for effectively managing this condition. Symptoms of hepatozoonosis can include lethargy, jaundice, fever, swelling in the spleen or liver, weight loss, and inflammation. Some dogs can have mild cases of hepatozoonosis with few outward symptoms, while others may experience severe illness due to this condition.

For those that do develop more severe symptoms such as jaundice or organ failure, treatment typically involves the use of anti-parasitic drugs. It is also essential to take preventative measures to ensure that your dog does not get bitten by a tick, as this is the primary way that hepatozoonosis is transmitted. Pet owners should be aware of the risks associated with tick bites and take steps to protect their dogs from these harmful parasites.

Be Mindful Of These Tick-Borne Diseases

As a dog owner, it is important to be aware of the different tick-borne diseases your pet may be at risk of contracting. From the deadly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to the more serious hepatozoonosis, these illnesses can have severe consequences for your dog if not promptly treated.

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of these conditions can go a long way toward ensuring that your dog gets the treatment they need, so be sure to consult your veterinarian if you notice anything out of the ordinary. With proper care and vigilance, your beloved canine companion can live a full and healthy life free from the dangers of these dangerous tick-borne diseases.

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