Tick bite fever, which is rampant in dogs, is an illness caused by ticks. Tick bite on dogs could be dangerous & lead to serious diseases, if untreated. Tick fever occurs due to the bite of infected ticks and is induced by an unusual bacteria. Since ticks generally live in the feathers and fur of birds and animals, they spread very fast during springtime. Ticks spread very fast during springtime. Eliminate the ticks as quickly as possible if you find them to prevent any infection. Tick bite fever spreads only in the warm climate.
Moreover, eliminating ticks on dogs as quickly as possible to prevent tick(s) from creating any infection is suggested without any delay. Tick bite fever spreads only in the warm climate.
Furthermore to add, Lyme disease is a disease associated with ticks and is called as Biliary Fever.
Also Read: How to maintain a Tick Free environment
In The Article
What is Tick Fever?
It is one of the most common types of infectious disease that can affect a dog. It spreads mainly in the warm climate. Ticks can be harmful to both animals as well as humans. If your pet has ticks, you will feel them as small bumps on the skin of your pet.
Ticks tend to attach to the areas around feet, ear, neck, and head of the dog. Depending on the age, ticks vary in size. The size could be between 1 mm to 1 cm long.
Many pet owners know that Dog ticks cause intense ectoparasites. An ectoparasite is a parasite that lives in the skin but not within the body. Some examples of ectoparasites are Fleas and Lice.
Male and Female Ticks:
- Tick fever is spread by female ticks.
- They can stay and feed on the bloodstream of a Dog or a Human.
- Though male ticks can stay in the blood of a dog or humans, they cannot feed on them and hence this fever will not spread due to male ticks.
- Some ticks stay in the blood of a puppy or human even for a lifetime.
- Female dog tick lays up to 6500 eggs and it dies.
Tick Bite Symptoms
Ticks are very common in Western Countries like the United States. It is mostly found in North East of United States. However, tick bites are comparatively insignificant in North America when compared to its severity in countries like South Africa.
Even one tick bite can spread more than one disease. Though most of the tick bites are not harmful in effect, there is no easy way to identify tick diseases. It’s symptoms are vague and also there is a considerable delay before the symptoms manifest. If your dog accidentally eats a tick, it could also lead to such diseases.
Ticks live mainly in Grass, Shrubs, and Trees. Ticks can also be found in your garden.
Symptoms of Tick Bite
- Symptoms of Tick bites are seen normally within first two weeks
- The severe part of the disease will be there up to two to four weeks
- Symptoms for this dog disease include fever, pain in muscles, rashes in the skin, a kind of restlessness, headache, loss of weight and so on.
- Sometimes after getting infected, from few months after years, people experience joint pains, severe headaches, stiff neck problems, difficulty in moving one or both sides of the face and so on
- Some might experience all the symptoms as well
- Symptoms vary with individuals
- Dog ticks will continue to harm your pet by sucking its blood
- Some kind of ticks can even produce a unique toxin(organic poison made by plants and animals) in the blood causing paralysis in the bitten dog.
Tick Bite Diagnosis
A Tick bite is usually painless. Many who get infected don’t realize that they are bitten. Almost 25% to 50% of the puppies or human beings do not develop any rashes. The infection suddenly begins with a fever and headache.
Tick Bite in Your Pet:
- If the dog has been bitten by a tick, and you notice a lack of energy and enthusiasm in your dog or any kind of swelling in the joints or fever or any change in the barking pattern, then it needs to be checked immediately.
- Placing the pet on effective, suitable pesticide depending on the condition will help to control and prevent further tick infestation.
- The next step is to prevent tick/s from causing any more muscle loss and other serious conditions.
- If your pet begins showing symptoms of a tick-borne illness, veterinarian should be called to identify or test it
- Once you identify the symptoms of tick bite in your pet, clearly wash your hands
- Use antiseptic to clean your pet’s wound
- Ensure to clean your tweezers using isopropyl alcohol
- Closely watch the area where the tick was to check if the infection has spread.
Diagnosis of Tick Bites:
- Diagnosis is usually done after watching specific symptoms and testing for antibodies in the blood
- In some cases, initial blood test reports will be negative.
- Antibodies can stay in the blood for one or more years after diagnosing the infection
- A new clinical test known as PCR test is performed along with antibodies test since it is difficult to determine between living and dead organisms
- PCR test is known as Polymerase Chain Reaction test
- This test is performed to get the detailed level of disease data
Diseases due to Ticks
Kindly understand that non-canine members and humans are also susceptible to ticks. These cross-group diseases are simply referred to as zoonotic.
So, in case, if you or any of your family member are infested with ticks, take necessary steps immediately.
Some of the tick-infested dog diseases are
Lyme disease is a widely identified disease. If your dog has Lyme disease, you can see that they become depressed and lose their appetite. Lameness, fever, swollen and painful joints, and swollen lymph nodes are some of the other symptoms of Lyme disease. But it is not the only disease that dogs or humans get because of ticks.
According to reports from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC has been really active in conducting various awareness programs on the control and prevention of Lyme disease that include-
- Supporting and guiding awareness cum education programs of public healthcare networks
- Developing new strategies to prevent the disease from spreading to humans
- Offering reference and diagnostic laboratory services
- Analyzing and maintaining national data on Lyme disease
Overall, disease control and prevention facilitates and supports more research for further improving one’s understanding of Lyme and other tickborne diseases.
- This is also referred as dog fever.
- This type of fever has additional symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea.
- This is a very common disease that exists worldwide.
- Infected brown dog tick causes this disease.
- A runny nose or watery eyes, enlarged lymph nodes or limbs are some of the additional symptoms for this disease.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:
- Both dogs and human can be affected by rocky mountain spotted fever
- This spotted fever occurs mostly during the tick season from April to September.
- This type of fever is caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsia.
- The main antibiotics that are used to treat rocky mountain spotted fever are tetracycline, doxycycline, and enrofloxacin and the duration of this treatment should be two weeks.
- Humans are not directly affected by dogs but they can acquire the spotted fever from infected tick bites.
- This disease is spread by the American dog tick and brown tick.
- The most common symptom of this disease is Anemia, dark urine, weakness and so on.
- This infection is spread by the infected brown ticks.
- It is also spread through other biting insect parasites like lice and fleas.
- Some of the symptoms of this disease are fever, painful lymph nodes, a feeling of sickness, shivering.
Tick Bite Treatment And Prevention
Few ticks are very small that we can hardly find them on the skin of a puppy. If the ticks stay on the skin for a long time, then there are chances for the disease to spread.
- Always check your dog for ticks after a walk.
- Whenever a tick is found on the body, it needs to be removed immediately.
- Only a few ticks spread this disease. We have to remove the ticks sooner we find it on the skin.
- The tick can be removed with any of the tick removal tools.
- It can also be removed using a small equipment with a pair of narrow strips made of a metal called tweezers.
- While using tweezers, locate the tick exactly where it is on the skin and pick it from the skin right upwards with a gentle pressure.
- Bite site should be cleaned with soap and water.
- Sometimes dog’s body will detach the tick automatically by itself.
- It is suggested to take the advice of the doctor soon to check if any treatment based on the type of tick is necessary.
- One should not burn the tick when it stays on the skin.
- Do not shake or twist your hands as it may cause the mouth parts of the tick to remain in the bitten area and lead to further infections.
- Do not dig around in the skin to remove the tick which could lead to increase the risk of getting more skin infections.
In a nutshell, tick control in dogs include
- Maintaining the dog/s inside the premises to prevent new tick infestation.
- Keeping the lawn and house clean
- Using tick sprays that can immediately destroy the ticks and apply other tick control after getting proper medical advice. It is one of the easiest ways to prevent tick/s in dogs.
- Tick powders are effective in repelling as well as killing the ticks. Using them wisely holds the key.
- Tick collars are recommended if the dog is not prone to constant scratching. A minimum 2 finger gap is advised between the dog’s coat and the collar.
- Tick dips are a concentrated synthetic or chemical solution which are applied to the dog’s coat after diluting the chemical in water. It can be more potent if applied after taking proper expert advice.
Therefore, it is the prerogative of the dog owner to take steps to prevent tick/s from causing further troubles.
Tick Bite Bull's Eye and Spider Bites
If a dog gets a tick bite, a spot is seen on the bitten area within few days. This spot is also called as bullseye rash. After a tick bite, this rash is seen in most of the dogs. It looks like a red rash on the bitten area. Such rashes will be there on the bitten area of the puppy’s for around 3 to 30 days.
Tick bites spread a bacterial species called BorreliaBurgdorferi. This is the main cause of Lyme disease. It is an infectious disease also known as Lyme borreliosis.
Other than this, any kind of spider bite can also cause some serious implications if not noticed and treated immediately. It is important to remember that there are lots of venomous harmful spiders in America that can inject harmful toxins with a single bite.
Some of the well-recognized local spider’s are brown recluse spiders, brown widow, and black widow.
The early symptoms of any spider bite are joint pain and tremors, muscle problem, weakness, and in certain cases fever too. It is important to immediately address this crisis if you happen to notice any visible difference in your dog such as load moaning which could be due to pain.
Please keep in mind that the symptoms may vary from one dog to another depending on the impact of the spider bite toxin and the dog’s resistance ability.
Administering anti-venom as soon as possible is the only way to save the dog from any type of spider bite without any further health concern.
Colorado Tick Fever
About the Fever
Colorado tick fever is also called as mountain tick fever. It has other names as well. This fever is also called as American tick fever or American mountain tick fever. It is a viral infection caused due to the bite of an infected Dermacentorandersoni.
Dermacentorandersoni is generally known as Rocky Mountain wood tick. It is a hard tick and It has 3 stages of life cycle. They are larvae, nymph, and adult. This virus can stay in the blood for about 120 days. Hence such people are not allowed to donate blood.
- Symptoms are many including fever, headaches, pain behind the eyes, pain in the muscle, vomiting, abdominal pain and so on.
- Initial symptoms can be seen within a week after the initial tick bite.
- Usually, individuals get a fever which can prolong for up to 3 days and then it goes off.
- Again people get the fever for up to 3 days.
- Colorado tick fever is a seasonal one.
- It mostly affects people in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States.
- There is no specific treatment available for Colorado tick fever.
- As soon as Colorado tick fever is diagnosed, the first step is to ensure that the tick is completely removed from the skin.
- Secondly, analgesics drugs (Drugs that helps in providing pain relief) can be given to providing relief from fever and pains.
- Individuals who feel that they are bitten by a tick, they should approach the doctors at the earliest and take their advice.
- Bare hands should never be used to remove the Ticks.
- Ticks can be removed using Tweezers.
- Ticks not removed properly might cause infections on the skin.
- Hands should be properly protected.
- Hands should be covered with the help of gloves.
- After removing the ticks, hands should be properly washed with soap and water.
- Never remove a tick using a Flame or Match.
- In earlier days, this method was considered as safe.
- Later it was realized that this might cause the tick to repeat.
African Tick Bite Fever
About the Fever
African tick-bite fever is a type of spotted fever that is caused by the infected tick bites. Ticks that are infected by the bacteria Rickettsia africae spread this fever.
- A red skin sore with a dark center is usually seen at the site of the tick bite.
- You don’t generally see a rash as in other tick bite cases in South African tick bite but you might see swelling in the glands.
- The main reason for African tick bite fever is due to Amblyomma tick.
- This is mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa most commonly seen in parts of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and in some parts of the East Caribbean islands.
- After the harmful bite, symptoms are seen usually within two weeks in around 6 to 7 days.
- Common symptoms are fever, body pain, extreme tiredness, headache, and a sensation of spinning around and losing one’s balance.
- It is found through research that Ticks that are infected with tick-bite fever are more active between November to April months.
- Hence there is no surprise that this type of fever is called as African tick-bite fever.
- That is the reason why travelers to sub-Saharan Africa and the West Indies cautioned about the risk of getting infected due to this fever.
- This type of fever was first diagnosed many centuries ago.
- But so far no vaccine or medicine seems to be available that can prevent African tick-bite fever.
- Like other fevers, African tick bite fever is also treated with antibiotics.
- Though people feel better after taking antibiotics, in few instances, the fever might leave prolonged symptoms like pain in joints, fatigue and so on.
- Even if you feel better, the complete course of medicines must be taken.
- Not taking the full dosage of medicines could result in infection recurring again.
Are Ticks Dangerous for Humans?
Ticks are dangerous for humans
Often Tick bites are harmless, where we don’t get to see any visible symptoms. But they are bound to cause allergic reactions as well. Ticks can transmit diseases to humans when they bite.
Ticks are generally very small in size and are normally found on the arms or underarms. It is also seen in thigh and legs.
Ticks affect small babies as well as elderly people
The aged people get prolonged joint pain. Sometimes these people get symptoms of arthritis causing stiffness of the joints as well. Tick bites in small babies cause pain to them. It also causes rashes on their skin with itching. If we scratch the bitten skin, it could lead to other bacterial infections as well. Such infections can be more dangerous.
Antibiotic skin creams and lotions can be used in such situations to control the itching.
Tick Bite Fever Recovery Time/Recurrence
Key things that people should know is how to recognize ticks, what are the various symptoms of ticks, what is the first aid when ticks bite? and so on. Unlike other bites, ticks normally remain in the body after they bite. After around 10 days, the tick gets detached on its own and fall off.
If a tick is found in the dog, it is very important to take care while removing it. Any contact with tick’s blood can spread the infection to the dog or even to us. We need to check the dog for ticks every day. More importantly check the ticks during tick season during summer, spring, warmer climates and so on. We need to make sure that we check between the dog’s toes, behind ears, under the arm and around the tail and head.
Tick fever has three phases. First one is the acute phase. It usually develops within three weeks after the bite of the infected tick. This lasts generally for up to 4 weeks.
The bacteria caused due to tick bite enter the white blood cells and reproduce inside the blood stream. Apart from being in the blood stream, they are also found in liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes and so on. Platelets which help the blood to clot are always destroyed as a result of this infectious disease. The lymphocyte, one of the white blood cells which is required in our blood may increase and it can be unusual in its size.
This condition is always confused with different types of cancers. It is not a good sign to see the increase or decrease in lymphocyte up to certain levels.
Sometimes, in the crucial stage of the disease, arthritis or a disease in the kidney may develop.
There is no prevention method that can guarantee 100% safety. But still, it would be better to keep an eye on your dog for any abnormal behavior. In such cases, it is better to visit a veterinary doctor.