Ticks

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The days are beautiful as spring begins. Dr. Katie and her family have been spending as much time as possible outside in their backyard. However, she has been finding quite a few ticks on herself and her kids! Luckily her dog is on flea and tick prevention. Ticks are going to be terrible this year. Make sure your pets are protected as ticks carry some pretty major diseases. This blog post is going to cover just a few common tick borne diseases: Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis.

Lyme Disease – lyme disease is spread by deer ticks. Baby deer ticks feed on infected mice, then mature into nymphs and feed on other mammals (dog, human, etc). They can infect the 2nd host or they can become infected by the second host. After the nymph molts and becomes an adult, it feeds on a 3rd host (dog, human, etc) and can infect the host with Lyme Disease. The tick has to be detached for some time (studies vary on this amount of time) before the disease can be transmitted, so the sooner you get the tick off of you, the less likely you are to be infected! In dogs, the disease shows up months after the tick bite. Dogs usually have a fever, swollen/painful joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and poor appetite. Infection can negatively affect the kidney, heart, and nervous system so it can be very serious!

Ehrlichiosis – Ehrlichiosis caused by Ehrlichia spp. are transmitted by the brown dog tick and the lone star tick. These ticks pick up the disease from their first host, and can transmit it to subsequent hosts. The clinical signs of ehrlichiosis depend on the phase of infection. Clinical signs of the acute phase start within a month after exposure and can last up to a month. Signs include weakness from anemia, fever, panting, shifting leg lameness, bruising, and depression. If the dog doesn’t clear the infection, a subclinical phase comes next where dogs appear normal. Years later, they can exit the subclinical phase and enter a chronic phase: weight loss, anemia, neurological signs, uveitis, swelling of the joints/ appendages, and kidney damage.

Anaplasmosis – Anaplasma is spread by the deer tick and is very similar to ehrlichia. As a matter of fact, it used to be classified as ehrlichia. Signs include fever, lethargy, poor appetite, and shifting leg lameness.

If any of these signs sound familiar, My Zoo has a in-house screen test for them called the 4dx Snap. We can test your dog and get results back within 15 minutes. Give us a call if you are worried about tick borne disease and would like to get your dog tested. 573-875-3647.

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