Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tick-borne diseases

It's tick season, and they seem to be especially heavy this year, at least in NC, thanks to and early spring and plentiful rain (ticks like humidity). My dog Mr. Gomez gets to go on a lot of excursions in the woods, and he frequently picks up a tick or two, which we find later. We treat our dogs with Frontline Plus, but it can take between 24 and 48 hours to kill a tick after it's hitched a ride on a treated dog. A tick carrying a disease can transmit the organism in as few as five hours. (Other canine tick-borne diseases include Ehrlichiosis, Basesiosis and Lyme Disease).

Unfortunately, we may have let a tick stay on Mr. Gomez a little too long, because we suspect he may have a tick-borne illness. His symptoms included lethargy and loss of appetite, and when they took his temp at the vet it was a little over 104 degrees F (Normal dog temp is 102 F). An initial blood test showed low-platelets, which can be an indicator of tick-borne diseases. We're awaiting the results of the tick serology, but in the meantime the vet prescribed doxycycline and prednisone, which seemed to perk him up soon after the first dose.

So now we're reminded to be more vigilant in checking for ticks, and when we find them, take care to remove them properly.

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