If you don't know much about fleas and ticks on dogs, you might just think of them as mere nuisances that might make your pets a little itchy. Truthfully speaking, fleas and ticks can be a lot more harmful than that. Never ignore cases of either. Always get veterinary attention before other complications have the opportunity to rear their ugly heads.
One major problem that could arise from fleas is anemia. The tiny external parasites are capable of taking in so much blood that they can actually, with some time, trigger the red blood cell disorder. For some canines, particularly young ones, the red blood cell deficiency can actually lead to fatal results. Never brush to the side any indications that your pet might have fleas, whether excessively low energy, missing clumps of fur, excessive chewing, skin sores or head shaking. You might even be able to pinpoint the fleas in rapid motion on your dog's coat -- tiny, deep brown or blackish insects with flattened physiques.
As with fleas, extreme cases of ticks in dogs can also induce anemia. It also can bring upon deadly consequences, especially in pets who are either elderly or tiny physically. In the bulk of cases, ticks are pretty simple to visually identify -- gray or reddish-brown arachnids all over your dog's skin. Some typical symptoms of canine ticks are both excessive itchiness and skin redness. The sooner you notice ticks in your dog, the sooner you might be able to prevent complications.
Some dogs are actually allergic to flea saliva, which can cause allergic reactions -- flea allergy dermatitis. In these cases, even a couple of flea bites can bring upon discomfort, sometimes even after the application of flea medication. Apart from lots of itchiness, flea allergy dermatitis can pave the way for unpleasant bacterial skin infections, an effect of scratching all of the time.
Many ticks carry Lyme disease, which is a form of bacterial infection. Deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in particular are prolific in the Lyme disease department. Some telltale indications of Lyme disease in canines include fever, reduced appetite, depression and joint aching. In some cases, it can even cause kidney failure. Note that if kidney failure in dogs is ignored, it can be deadly.
Some varieties of female ticks can trigger tick paralysis, which results from a strong poison that is contained in their saliva. This saliva travels directly to canines' blood and causes drastic nervous system havoc. Some of the effects that dogs with tick paralysis experience include muscle motion loss, back leg weakness, problems eating, rapid heart rate, throwing up and hypertension.
- Atlanta Humane Society: Fleas, Ticks and Pets
- Michigan Humane Society: Flea Control
- ASPCA: Fleas
- PetMD: Does My Dog Have Fleas?
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Overview of Tick Paralysis
- ASPCA: Ticks and Lyme Disease
- West Suburban Humane Society: Flea Dermatitis
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Flea Anemia
- ASPCA: Kidney Problems
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