Posts in Category: Lyme Disease and Dogs
The world is full of creepy, crawly bugs. They all have a purpose in the eco-system but unfortunately some of them are not so good for our pets. Below is some more information on one of the more important ones.
Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are actually arachnids like scorpions, spiders and mites. Ticks have four pairs of legs as adults and have no antennae. Ticks are also efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks can take several days to complete feeding.
Ticks can also carry a variety of diseases that can cause problems in our 4 legged friends. One of the most common diseases present in our area from tick attachment and feeding is Lyme Disease.
An infected Ixodes tick (deer tick) transmits the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria through the skin when it bites. Most dogs (as well as people) do not even feel the bite, which is why the tick can remain undiscovered. After the initial bite through the skin, the tick secretes “cement” to anchor to its host where it is difficult to remove. Then, it begins to take in its blood meal 30 minutes later.
Amazingly, unlike most other insect bites, the tick’s bite is painless and non-irritating because its saliva contains:
– An anesthetic to numb and reduce pain
– An antihistamine to reduce allergic reaction or itching
– An anticoagulant to enhance blood flow
– An anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling
– An immunosuppressant to help aid in the transmission of pathogens
INFECTION DOES NOT HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY
The deer tick is very slow in transmitting the bacteria to dogs – only after the tick is partially engorged – 24 to 48 hours after attaching to the dog. This slow transmission of the disease shows the importance of checking your dog for ticks after being outside, even in your own backyard.