quinta-feira, 3 de março de 2011

Tick diseases in your dogs: a hidden danger

You are taking a walk with your dog, and it very energetic and playful, as it has always been... and on the next day, your pet doesn't feel like drinking or eating a lot. Then, you find out the back limbs are paralyzed. You ask yourself, worried: "Could it be rabies?" Reluctantly, you take your beloved animal to a veterinarian, praying it won't be so (and that your dog won't bite you).
As usual, the veterinarian may ask you to watch your dog's behavior (or ask for it to be hospitalized), while you wait for the results of a blood test, which will be ready by the afternoon.

4 PM. The phone rings, and you answer, anxious. "Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you," says the veterinarian, in a very somber tone. And then, you try to get a hold of yourself, so you won't cry. Quietly, you keep hearing his grim voice saying: "Your dog has a tick disease. He needs the utmost care."
You start to cry, mourning your dog's imminent doom, until you realize he said it was a tick disease. And then, after snapping out of it, you think: "What? Does he mean a tick caused all this? That little thing?"

Don't be so surprised, though. Tick diseases are more common than you might think, and are responsible for many kinds of diseases that are lethal to your pets - and in rare cases, lethal to humans, too.

Don't be so surprised, though. Tick diseases are more common than you might think, and are responsible for many kinds of diseases that are lethal to your pets - and in rare cases, lethal to humans, too.

Forms of contamination
A dog gets sick when it gets bitten by a tick contaminated by a small organism, which can be bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and so on. This kind of contamination can happen everywhere - walking in the park, in the grass of your garden, or even standing close to infected walls.

A few types of tick disease
  • Babesiosis - An illness caused by a bacteria of the Babesia species, which includes, but it is not limited to Babesia canis rossi, Babesia bigemina, and Babesia bovis. An aggressive disease, it feeds on the red blood cells of your pet, destroying its immune system in the process and damaging the body as a whole. Symptoms may initially show as flu-like, paralysis of the limbs, unwillingness to eat and / or drink, and, notably, not urinating or defecating. If untreated, it may lead to quick death.
  • Erhlichiosis - usually less aggressive than babesiosis, this illness destroys the white blood cells of your dog. Symptoms are very similar to the ones in babesiosis though, except your dog may also show accumulation of fluids in the eyes or edemas. Even though it is less aggressive than babesiosis, it shouldn't be ignored, as it will also kill your pet if the illness is ignored.
  • Lyme disease - caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, it manifests itself from 2 to 5 months after your dog is bitten. Symptoms are similar to that of babesiosis and erhlichiosis. If not treated properly, it is more likely to cause a severe liver disease that may kill your dog.
Always check for ticks in your dogs and use appropriate products to get them removed. Do NOT crush or burn the ticks by yourself, as they may contain eggs and by doing so, you may help them to proliferate. A good, non-harmful option to your pet (and to your own safety) is to use Frontline products, available at http://frontline.us.merial.com/. Although they do not prevent tick bites, they will kill any tick that bites your dog in 48 hours - and also getting rid of the eggs and the youngsters as a bonus. This product protects against ticks for around a month, and 3 months for fleas. Consider taking blood tests of your pet as well and taking it to your veterinarian routinely.

If your dog shows signals of being apathetic, not wanting to eat or drink, and most importantly, any kind of paralysis, consult your trusted veterinarian immediately. Once the symptoms start to show, tick diseases may progress to death, as stated previously. However, if treated properly, chances are your dog will live a longer, happier life.

Um comentário:

  1. Killing ticks with removers such as Frontline Plus For Dogs is just part of the problem.

    Pet owners should always look for hidden causes of ticks and make sure that their dog does not go near an infested area.