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Increasing Cases of Tick Disease in Dogs

Picture2The doctors at South Hyland Pet Hospital would like to share with our clients that we are seeing a dramatic increase this spring in dogs with significant illness resulting from diseases transmitted by ticks in our area.

The most common tick borne illnesses we see locally are Lyme diseaseAnaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. Deer ticks are the most common carriers of these diseases, but other types of ticks (excluding wood ticks) can also carry these diseases. The tiniest growth stages of ticks, called nymphs, can be as small as the head of a pin and are impossible to see on a pet. Tiny ticks are also the most likely to carry and transmit disease. Ticks are carried by deer, birds and other wildlife in our area.

Symptoms of tick borne illness in dogs can include one or more of the following:  fever, lethargy, limping, decreased appetite, nausea/vomiting, drinking more and bruising . Symptoms often come on suddenly and can be profoundly serious, even life threatening, if not caught and treated promptly.

Diagnosis of tick borne disease in dogs involves physical examination by the veterinarian and appropriate diagnostic testing, which can include blood and urine tests depending on each individual pet’s symptoms. Additional consequences of tick infection can be low platelets or white blood cells with Anaplasma or Ehrlichia, or damage to the kidneys with Lyme disease (Lyme nephritis). This kidney damage affects only a small fraction of dogs infected with Lyme disease, but the prognosis for recovery when Lyme nephritis is present can be very poor.

The fantastic news is that tick disease is easy to prevent. There are safe and effective options available to suit every dog and family. We recommend either oral Nexgard chews or topical Frontline Plus. Each is effective for 1 month for tick control, and also controls fleas. Nexgard or Frontline Plus need to be given on the same day each month all year long. Ticks are active at temperatures above 40 degrees, and even in Minnesota we experience days of active ticks during brief winter warm-ups. At South Hyland we diagnose and treat tick disease all year as a result of this. Tick disease infections are highest in spring and fall, but happen in every month of the year.Tick borne disease is treated with antibiotics, and other medications as needed (determined by the veterinarian). Some critically ill pets require hospitalization.

Please call or email us with any questions you may have about tick disease or tick prevention, or if you need any medications filled for your dog.

(952) 884-1868 or southhyland@southhyland.com