Tick bites are usually harmless to your dog. A tick can still bite your dog if it is on tick prevention, but it will die before it can cause any harm. The tick may come off on its own, or you may realize it is dead when you remove it. Occasionally, a dog may have a serious reaction to the saliva of a tick. This occurs more often than one might think as many people don't notice or ignore the signs of a skin problem and put their dog at risk for heartworm disease.
Dogs can get heartworm disease even if they never leave the state because there are several species of ticks that carry the worm. They include: American dog tick, Brown dog tick, Black-legged tick, and Lone-star tick. Although rare, certain types of fleas can transmit heartworm disease too. If you find a flea on your dog, take him or her to the vet right away so that blood samples can be taken to check for heartworms.
If you discover a tick on your dog, remove it carefully using tweezers or wearing rubber gloves to avoid being bitten by its needles. Ticks are known to spread bacteria through their systems when they feed so removing them quickly is very important. Take care not to squeeze the body of the tick as this could cause an infection from the bacteria it carries to spread further.
Some dogs may have a negative reaction to the saliva of a tick.
Ticks are largely hazardous due to the illnesses they can transmit. If a tick bites you, kill it without destroying the body. This reduces bacterial spatter and can aid in illness identification if you become ill. Remove any attached ticks as soon as possible; they will not detach themselves.
Some people may have an immune system that is capable of fighting off diseases transmitted by ticks, but for others, such as children, old people, and people with compromised immune systems (for example, those taking cancer medications or steroids), these diseases can be very serious or even fatal.
Tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. While most people experience only a mild case of fever, muscle pain, and skin rash when infected with one of these organisms, some people do develop more severe symptoms. In addition, babies born to mothers who have been recently bitten by a tick are at risk of developing a life-threatening infection called congenital syphilis.
Because there is no cure for any of these diseases, treating the patient with antibiotics is important in order to reduce the severity of their symptoms and prevent further spread of the organism within the body.
In addition to these dangers, ticks carry several other problems for humans.
Don't get alarmed if you try to remove a tick but its head or mouthparts remain in your pet. You've killed the tick and removed its corpse, eliminating the possibility of disease transmission. The leftover pieces, on the other hand, might still cause an infection at the attachment site. Infections caused by these fragments are known as "lodgepole infections." These usually go away on their own after several weeks.
If you leave a tick bite unaddressed, it can lead to serious complications such as anemia, inflammation of the lungs, liver, or heart, kidney failure, and even death. So take the time to look over your pet when he/she comes in from a walk and check every nook and cranny for signs of trouble. You may be able to see some of the bites on your pet with just your naked eye, but if not, use a mirror or flashlight to have a closer look.
The American Society of Parasitologists recommends using insect repellent with DEET on dogs and cats who will be exposed to significant amounts of grass and trees during outdoor activities. There are also products that claim to kill ticks after they have attached themselves to your pet; ask your vet about these products.
Most veterinarians will tell you that you do not need to send your dog to the doctor after a tick bite, but you should keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease in the coming weeks or months. Contact your veterinarian if your dog develops a fever, lethargy, lameness, or enlarged lymph nodes.
Many dogs that fall victim to ticks later develop symptoms of canine ehrlichiosis or babesiosis. These diseases are spread by infected ticks and can cause similar symptoms to those of Lyme disease: depression, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, call your vet immediately.
Ticks are found everywhere in the world, including countries where people think they're safe from this danger. Traveling to these areas should be considered when planning for your dog's safety. Use prevention methods such as checking your dog daily for ticks, applying a product with acaracide additives to their coat, and knowing the brain-based behavior of ticks. This will help reduce the risk of bringing home a hitchiker.
If you do find a tick on your dog, remove it carefully using fine-tipped tweezers or a pair of bent index fingers. Be sure to remove the head and ears of the tick, as these are the parts that contain the bacteria that cause the disease. Wash your hands after handling your dog to prevent spreading other infections.