What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get?

By Graham Harper, Journalist specialized in animal welfare. June 29, 2017
What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get?

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Ticks, although they are small insects and seem harmless, they can be deadly. They lodge themselves in the skin of warm-blooded mammals and suck their vital liquid. The problem is that they not only suck their blood, but can infect and transmit several types of diseases. If these are not treated correctly, they can become serious health problems. Ticks do not fly, but can crawl or fall onto their hosts. Which, is easily done as they live among tall grass.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet, continue reading this AnimalWised article on what tick diseases can dogs get? Many of them can affect you too!

You may also be interested in: 9 Diseases Dogs Can Transfer to Humans

What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites or larger mites that are part of the family of arachnids. These cousins ​​of spiders can transmit diseases and infections to animals and people.

The most common types of ticks are the dog tick, the black-leg tick or deer tick. Dogs and cats attract them from open spaces with lots of vegetation, grass, accumulated leaves or shrubs, and they get more vicious in hot seasons.

What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - What are ticks?

Lyme disease

The most feared but common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease, which is transmitted by ticks so small that they cannot be seen to the naked eye. When this happens, the diagnosis is more difficult to perform. Once a tick of this type bites, it produces a circular red rash that neither itches nor hurts. But, it is spreading and generates fatigue, intense headaches, swollen lymph nodes, muscular facial and neurological problems. This disease can occur more than once in the same patient.

This pathology is an infection that greatly weakens but is not fatal. However, if not diagnosed and treated properly, it can develop problems such as:

  • Facial paralysis
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological disorders
  • Palpitations

Lyme disease, whether it generates heart, brain or arthritis problems, will be treated through various types of antibiotics that are prescribed by the veterinarian.

What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - Lyme disease


The bacterium Francisella tularensis is the cause of turalemia, a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites and also by mosquitoes and the borriquera fly. The animals most affected by this tick transmitted disease are rodents, but humans can also become infected. The goal of treatment is to cure the infection with antibiotics.

Around 5 to 10 days, the following symptoms will appear:

  • Fever and chills.
  • Painless ulcers in the contact area.
  • Irritation of the eyes, headache and muscle aches.
  • Stiffness in joints, shortness of breath.
  • Weight loss and sweating.
What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - Turalemia

Human Ehrlichiosis

This disease is spread through tick bites infected by three different bacteria: Ehrlichia chaffeensis , Ehrlichia ewingii and Anaplasma. The problem with this disease is that it is more common in children because symptoms usually begin 5 to 10 days after the sting, and if the case becomes severe it can cause severe brain damage. For both pets and humans, part of the treatment is the administration of antibiotics among other medications for a period of at least 6-8 weeks.

Some of the symptoms are similar to influenza: loss of appetite, fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, chills, anemia, low white blood cells (leucopenia), hepatitis, stomach pain, severe cough and in some, cases of rash.

What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - Human Ehrlichiosis

Paralysis by tick

Yes! Ticks are so powerful that they can even cause loss of muscle function. The interesting thing is that when they attach to the skin of people and animals (in most cases dogs), they release a poison that causes paralysis, and it is during this process of subtraction of the blood that the toxin penetrates the bloodstream. It is a double win for these little mites.

Paralysis starts from the feet and goes up all over the body. In addition, in most cases, it produces flu-like symptoms: muscle pain and exhaustion and shortness of breath. Intensive care, nursing support and insecticide baths will be needed as a treatment. As we mentioned, the main species affected of paralysis by a tick bite are dogs, however, cats may also suffer from it.

What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - Paralysis by tick

Anaplasmosis (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)

Anaplasmosis is another disease that ticks can transmit. It is also an infectious zoonotic pathology, which means it can infect people as well as pets. It is produced by an intracellular bacterium transmitted to humans by the bite of three species of ticks (deer: Ixodes scapularis , Ixodes pacificus and Dermacentor variabilis ). In some houses it causes gastrointestinal disturbances and in the majority it affects white blood cells. Elderly people who have a weak immune system are more sensitive and develop serious life-threatening symptoms, in which case immediate treatment with antibiotics is necessary.

Patients exposed to the disease agent often have problems being diagnosed because of the non-specific nature of the symptoms, as they occur suddenly 7 to 14 days after the bite. Most are headaches, fever, chills, myalgia and malaise that can be confused with other infectious or non-infectious diseases and viruses. Do not miss our article on fever in dogs to know how to act on the way to the vet center.

What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get? - Anaplasmosis (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Tick Diseases Can Dogs Get?, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

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