The Danger of Ticks This Summer

the danger of ticks this summerWith warmer weather comes the opportunity to spend more time outdoors playing with your four-legged friends. After all, what dog doesn’t love to take a romp through the backyard or park or along a trail when the weather is nice?

Unfortunately, summer also carries with it the risk of ticks and the many serious diseases they can carry. All dog owners must be careful to check their pet for ticks on a regular basis, particularly if your dog loves to dive into tall grass or brush where ticks are most likely to be found. If you do find a tick, carefully remove it and take your dog to see his veterinarian right away; it takes only hours for your dog to catch any of these serious diseases from a tick bite.

Be Aware Of Ticks This Summer

Lyme disease

Transmitted by the small deer tick, Lyme disease can infect dogs just as it affects humans. Moreover, the risk of contracting Lyme disease continues to grow in Iowa as reported cases across the state have surged in recent years. Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lethargy, limping, swollen and painful joints, decreased appetite and swollen lymph nodes. Some dogs infected with Lyme disease end up developing serious and potentially fatal kidney disease. Catching your dog’s Lyme disease early increases his chances for a full recovery.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Caused by a parasite transmitted through a tick’s bite, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is common throughout the Midwest. German Shepherds and all purebred dogs are more susceptible to developing a serious reaction to this parasite. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever can mimic other diseases and include fever, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, swollen lymph noses and fluid accumulation in the legs and face. If not properly treated, some dogs will experience serious nervous system symptoms and shock. Prompt treatment, however, is widely effective.


Also known as canine typhus or canine hemorrhagic fever, ehrlichiosis is carried by Lone Star and brown dog ticks and can be found in almost every U.S. state. The acute stage of the disease is characterized by fever, anemia, lethargy, bruising, shortness of breath, joint stiffness and loss of appetite. Without prompt treatment, the dog may develop a chronic form of the disease which has a worse prognosis for recovery; in Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds, this chronic condition is more serious.

Bartonella infection

Caused by bacteria carried by some ticks, dogs infected with bartonella do not always show signs of infection. Symptoms that do develop vary depending on the particular strain of bacteria but can include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite and weakness. This disease is less well understood than others, and the prognosis is dependent on symptoms and severity. However, completing a full course of antibiotics promptly is beneficial.


Dogs who spend time in wooded areas are at increased risk for babesiosis, a common parasite-caused disease. Symptoms can range from non-existent to severe and often include low appetite and energy, fever, discolored stool and urine, enlarged lymph nodes and spleen, weakness and jaundice. Medications are available to treat the symptoms of babesiosis, though the parasite might still remain in the dog’s system with the infection flaring up periodically.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Avenue of the Saints Animal Hospital!

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