It’s not uncommon for a pet to be infected with a dangerous tick-transmitted disease. These parasites attach themselves to animals before feeding on blood, which ultimately spreads the disease directly into the pet’s system. Except for the Gulf Coast tick, all these diseases—and the tick varieties that carry them—are found in Virginia:
- Canine ehrlichiosis – Brown dog tick
- Canine babesiosis – Brown dog tick, American dog tick
- Canine Anaplasmosis – Deer tick
- Canine Bartonellosis – Brown dog tick,
- Canine Hepatozoonosis – Brown dog tick, Gulf Coast tick
- Lyme disease – Deer tick
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever – American dog tick, lone star tick, wood tick
Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to combating tick-borne disease. There are many broad-spectrum antibiotics that are available, especially during the early stages of infection; however, since antibiotics don’t discriminate against “good” and “bad” bacteria, antibiotic treatment destroys beneficial bacteria as well as disease-causing organisms. Probiotics may be recommended to avoid gastrointestinal problems.
As always, the best treatment is prevention. In addition to preventives mentioned in the previous article, you should also check your dog for ticks daily, and watch for ticks in your home—they may need to be removed by a professional exterminator, as they can easily transmit some of these diseases to people if they get a chance to bite.
At AMC of the Cascades, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about tick-borne diseases, please contact us at (703) 956-1522.