Ticks are on the crawl!
With rising temperatures during spring and summer, a rise in the occurrence of ticks is observed.
Ticks not only feed on animals‘ blood, but can also transmit dangerous diseases. These diseases with their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment possiblities are listed below.
Lyme disease / Borreliosis
is caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus of Borrelia
Symptoms: Can often arise only months after infection; can be mild to severe; can „come and go“ ; they include symtpoms such as:
Furthermore, organs such as the kidneys, heart and nerves can also be affected.
Diagnosis: Borreliosis can be diagnosed by a blood test.
Treatment: Antibiotic treatment is indicated in all cases. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms, further medications may be necessary. The infection may persist lifelong even with antbiotic treatment.
Is caused by a parasite belonging to the protozoal piroplasms
Symptoms:Alot of cases are asymptomatic or include mild fevers and anemia and go unnoticed. However, acute infections show signs of fever, lethargy, anaemia jaundice and blood in urine. The kidneys can also become affected which can lead to an acute kidney failure.
The chronic form causes intermittent fever, apathy and anaemia over a period of months.
Diagnosis: Blood test
Treatment: Medication that combats babesia and if necessary infusion fluids or blood transfusion
Prevention: Tick control products
Is caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia canis which infects the white blood cells in dogs and cats.
Symptoms: can appear weeks after actual infection
.In severe cases the infection can lead to the death of the animal.
Diagnosis: blood test
Treatment: Antibiotic treatment for 6-8 weeks. Dehydrated animals also need subcutaneous or intravenous infusion fluids. When animals are severely anaemic a blood transfusion should be considered.
Other diseases transmitted by ticks include canine hepatozoonosis (southern Europe), anaplasmosis
Mosquitos and sand flies!
Not only ticks can transmit disease, but also mosquitos and sand flies in southern Europe can infect your dog with blood parasites.
Leishmania are transferred by sand flies and dogs can either eliminate the parasite without any symptoms or the disease becomes clinical. This can happen months or even years(!) after the infection took place.
Diagnosis: with a blood test, lymphnode or skin biopsy
Treatment: There are several medications available to treat Leishmaniosis. The selection depends on the clinical state of the dog. Some medications have side effects and this disease can not be cured. The medications can only enable a remission of the clinical symptoms. This means that a relapse is always possible.
Dirofilariosis / Heartworm
Mosquitos can transfer the larvae of heartworms while feasting on the blood of dogs and cats. After several months the larvae become adult worms and travel to the heart and pulmonary arteries where they remain and reproduce. Adult worms can rech 30-40 cm in length!
Due to the size the adult worms can reach, the heart faces several problems
Diagnosis: Blood test
Treatment: Treatment isn’t always straightforward and can even be dangerous fort he do gor cat. Firstly, the macrofilaria (adult worms) must be eliminated. The animal has to be closely monitored during this period as the killed adult worms can clump together and block vital blood vessels. Administration of heparin is indicated to lower the risk of thrombosis.
Once the adult worms are eliminated, the treatment against the younger life stages of dirofilaria (microfilaria) must follow. This takes place about 3 to 6 weeks after the treatment against adult worms and anaphylactic shock is a risk during this period of the treatment.