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Tick Alert!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound is true in case of ticks, the possibly fatal pest known to be carriers of many blood-borne bacterial pathogens

We have all heard of them. Perhaps some of us have had the displeasure of finding one of these little critters attached to the skin of our pets. The very thought of these ectoparasites sends shudders up the spine for the simple reason that the parasite can lend your pet into real trouble, sometime fatal. Yep, I’m talking about ticks – tiny arachnids, a class that includes spiders and mites that characteristically feed on the blood of host animals. It’s an external parasite that embeds itself in the skin of animals. Once it lands, it inserts its mouthparts into the skin and that single tick has the potential to pass on multiple diseases. Ticks lay eggs that give rise to the larval life stage. The larva will then develop into a nymph stage and ultimately grow to become an adult. Every dog harbours external parasites like ticks, fleas or mites. Some of them are responsible for superficial skin infection while others manifest systemically. Tick fever is a serious systemic infection caused by Ehrlichia and Babesia species in canines and these organisms are carried by ticks from infected dog to healthy dog, just like malaria parasite, where mosquito acts as a vector. What can we do to protect our furry little from ticks and the diseases that they carry? Try to control the parasites. Prevention and early detection are the best ways of protecting your pets against tick fever. The intent is to stop it before any symptoms appear. Should the disease progress, symptoms can include stiff, painful and swollen joints, and a limp that comes and goes, often appearing to switch sides. Some dogs have an arched back and a stiff walk. More serious, however, are fever, difficulty breathing and kidney failure. When bitten, the skin of some pets may become red and irritated around the site, while others may not even notice the parasite attached to them. It is imperative then, that you inspect your pet regularly and thoroughly. Should you find a tick on your pet, it must be removed very carefully to ensure that the mouthparts are fully removed. If left behind, they can abscess and cause infection.


  • Long period of inactivity or disinterest
  • Increased shredding
  • Limping from rear legs
  • Tired after a short playful activity

The strangest fact about tick fever is that fever is rarely present in the dog and it is mostly diagnosed accidentally. The canine looks apparently healthy and the above listed signs are milder in appearance, so most of the times it’s missed by owners.


Your vet will perform a complete blood count or CBC to check for anemia and decreased platelet count. Accordingly, the doctor will put your dog on oral or intravenous medication and the treatment lasts for up to 21-28 days. Again the CBC is repeated after three days and then after a week to check for improvement from the previous results.
Next the CBC is repeated after a month and then after three and six months intervals.
Remember, if your dog is infested by ticks every now and then, kindly get your dog checked for tick fever. Many a times, it’s hard to believe for owners that even dogs need regular blood tests for diagnosis of various disease conditions, but it’s true! A long time of inactivity can be alarming! Don’t take tick infestation lightly as it can prove to be harmful for your pet. Various anti-tick or anti-flea sprays, pour-on solutions and collars are available so with the help of a vet get your dog protected before the beginning of parasite infesting season.

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