No conscientious and caring pet owner wants their beloved animal to become unwell. However, threats to the health of your furbaby may not always be obvious. Ticks may look like small, innocent bugs but don’t let their appearance deceive you. These little members of the arachnid family are capable of spreading debilitating and sometimes deadly infections.
Tick-borne diseases are those infectious diseases spread through the bite of ticks who have previously feasted on the blood of affected animals. Their blood now contains diseases microorganisms which it will pass on to the next unwilling host unless they are adequately protected.
There are several hidden dangers of tick-borne diseases which make preventative treatment all that more important.
By far the biggest danger of tick-borne diseases is the vagueness of the symptoms that many types of them present with.
Although each type of tick-borne illness will have indicators that are specific to that strain, almost all share a number of generic traits. Unfortunately, these are very vague, non-specific symptoms that could point to a tremendously large number of diseases or conditions – many of which have nothing to do with ticks.
These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Your pet seems uncomfortable moving around
Unfortunately, these symptoms alone can make it very difficult if not impossible to diagnose a tick-borne disease. Combined with the fact that they are easily over-looked by busy pet owners who do not deem them serious, it becomes easy to see why so many cases of a tick-borne illness are diagnosed so late on in the condition.
There is no way of knowing if a tick is carrying a disease or not.
Ticks become carriers of infectious diseases when they choose to feast on an animal who is already suffering from the condition. Some of the disease-causing organisms then enter the tick, ready to be passed on to the next unwilling victim!
While different ticks carry specific diseases (and some types of tick can transmit more than one type of infection) there is absolutely no way of knowing whether the one that just tucking in to your pet is infected or not. For this reason, it is better to try and avoid tick bites entirely!
Removing ticks needs to be done carefully
Removing a tick promptly could prevent it from transmitting any disease it might be carrying to your pet. However, if it isn’t dealt with carefully and properly, you and your furbaby could still be at risk. One of the most common mistakes people make when removing a tick is to twist it when they remove it. If this happens, it is more likely to cause trauma to the tick that results in it regurgitating infected blood on to yours or your pet’s skin, increasing the likelihood of infectious transmission. The other big mistake is squeezing the tick. Again, this can cause it to regurgitate potentially infected blood.
Unless treatment is prompt, the outcome for your pet may not be so good for your pet.
As with all medical conditions, the sooner your pet is diagnosed and can start treatment, the better the outcome for her. Many animals go on to make a complete recovery from a tick-borne illness. However, those who are diagnosed during the mid to later stages of the condition, or who are already immunocompromised, may find that they are much more adversely affected, and their prognosis is not so good.
Your veterinarian in Navarre will review every animal on a case by case basis, so if you have concerns about your pet’s recovery, you should contact us and speak directly to your Navarre veterinary team at Soundside Animal Hospital.