You love your dog and want his health to always come first. And a healthy, happy dog is a dog that is walked regularly and allowed to play outside. But unfortunately, our pets are prone to tick or flea bites, which have the potential to turn into dangerous complications. Infections such as Lyme disease or Bartonellosis can be caused by tick bites, while acute dermatitis can be encountered in those canines bitten by fleas.
To prevent these unpleasantries, a good idea might be to use monthly anti-parasite treatments such as Simparica Trio, Nexgard, or Advantage Dog and take preventive measures to minimize the risk of bite exposure. But what should I look at when choosing the next product for my dog, and what effect might these diseases have on our furry friends? In the following article, we suggest finding the answers to these questions together.
The Many Dangers of Lyme Disease
One of the most common and dangerous diseases your dog can get from tick bites is Lyme disease. This is an infection caused by bacteria of the genus Borrelia, and left untreated can lead to severe consequences for your fluffy friend. The number of animals affected by this pathogen is high, but only 5-10% of them show specific symptoms of the disease, and in many cases, symptoms may not appear until several months after infection. However, when they do, they can, unfortunately, be quite severe.
You can tell if your pet has Lyme disease if you notice the presence of inflamed lymph nodes on its body, if it is more sluggish than usual, if it no longer has an appetite, and if it has specific swellings in the joints. However, these symptoms are insufficient to confirm 100% the existence of the disease, which is why blood tests are also necessary.
When the presence of the pathogen in the blood is discovered, antibiotic treatment must be started immediately, which can last for a minimum of four weeks and cost more than $400. That is why it is even more important to take all the necessary preventive measures to minimize the risk of your dog getting sick, and the first and most effective way to defend against pathogens is by using products such as Simparica Trio, Nexgard, Capstar, or Bravecto, together with an up-to-date vaccination scheme.
What Other Diseases Can be Caused by Tick Bites?
Lyme disease is not the only ailment your dog can get from tick bites, and there are a host of other dangerous pathogens that can cause diseases with life-threatening symptoms. For example, Rickettsia bacteria found in ticks can cause diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which has become increasingly common in eastern Australia and can lead to symptoms such as poor appetite, diarrhea, abdominal swelling, or vomiting. Furthermore, we must also mention the Ehrlichiosis bacteria, which can lead to frightening symptoms such as respiratory issues, fever, or even spontaneous hemorrhages, and the Babesiosis bacteria, which leads to the destruction of red blood cells and causes severe anemia.
Ticks are the biggest enemy to your pet’s health, and unfortunately, the harsh climate makes them all the more dangerous in Australia, a country that, in recent years, has seen an increase in the number of ticks carrying hazardous diseases. On the plus side, there is no evidence of direct dog-to-human transmission of these pathogens, but their effect remains nevertheless significant for our silent friends.
What Preventive Treatments Should I Use for My Dog?
Treatments for flea and tick disease can come in many forms, and a variety of different companies create them, but whether we’re talking Simparica Trio, Nexgard or Bravecto, they all have one thing in common, and that is they try to protect your dog before the symptoms have a chance to make their presence felt. Simparica Trio, for example, is an oral treatment for dogs, as is Nexgard, which should be administered monthly, and is effective in neutralizing threats from ticks, fleas, and parasites.
Other treatments, such as Bravecto, take a different approach compared to products such as Nexgard, and with a single administration, can provide up to four months of extended protection for your dog without the need for monthly re-administration. It ultimately matters what your preference is and what your budget covers, but it is essential that whatever product you pick, you do it quickly because every time you take your dog out for a walk without tick protection, you risk getting your furry friend sick. And with disease comes a series of bills that can mean an absolute financial disaster for you or your family.
What Other Steps Can I Take to Prevent Tick Bites?
First of all, you should know when the tick season is in full swing. It differs based on country, but in Australia, the most significant risk is between July and December, although the specific climate of the continent makes the presence of ticks an almost constant problem. You will also need to inspect your dog thoroughly every time you return from a walk, even though the process may seem repetitive and boring. Remember that the longer a tick stays attached to your dog, the more likely it is to transmit a dangerous disease.
You can also consult your doctor about getting a Lyme disease vaccine, which may be a solution if you live in an area with a massive problem of tick-borne diseases. The vaccine can lead to temporary symptoms similar to the disease, and the consensus on its effectiveness is divided among specialists, so it is best to contact your local vet, who can advise you accordingly.
However, the safest prevention methods are oral medications such as Nexgard or Simparica Trio, which can provide long-term protection for your pet without the risk of unpleasant side effects. It is crucial not to risk your dog’s health and to work on the assumption that nothing can happen. The tick problem in Australia is serious, and you have a responsibility to your non-talking friend to keep him healthy and happy.
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