All dogs not protected with flea and tick medicine are considered susceptible to tick-borne diseases, which are passed on to pets through tick bites.
How Tick Diseases in Dogs Work
When a tick attaches to your pet to feed on blood, the tick can deposit a disease-causing organism into your pet.
Ticks often have to be attached for 24-48 hours to transmit disease, but some diseases may be transmissible within just hours of tick attachment.
Canine Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease in dogs that is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme is transmitted to dogs by the deer tick or black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis). To transmit the disease, the deer tick must be attached to a dog for 36-48 hours.
The majority of dogs exposed to Lyme disease never develop any identifiable illness. For those that do exhibit clinical signs, it tends to affect the joints and, less commonly, the kidneys.
Ehrlichiosis is another common tick-borne disease in dogs. This tick-borne disease is caused by the Ehrlichia canis bacterium and can lead to multisystemic complications in dogs.
Canine anaplasmosis can be caused by two different species of bacterium. The first, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, infects the white blood cells and is the type that can also infect humans. The second, Anaplasma platys, infects a dog’s platelets.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a tick disease in dogs caused by a bacterium, known as Rickettsia rickettsia, which uses the American dog tick and the brown dog tick as its main carriers. This is typically an acute disease that lasts for about two weeks.
Canine Bartonellosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Bartonella spp. A version of this disease in people is commonly referred to as “cat scratch fever.” The specific organism that transmits the disease has not yet been identified in the dog; however, ticks are suspected.Once a tick bites, dogs who are not on preventative medication are left completely vulnerable.