Happy sprig Planned Property Management residents! With the nicer weather finally gracing Chicago, you will no doubt want to get out and about with your furry friend.
Many of our properties are a hop, skip, and jump from the lake, the harbor, or other fabulous outdoor venues. With the warmer weather and inviting surroundings, we at PPM want to make sure that you and your pet are protected against any outdoor pests.
Many believe that if you live in an urban area, you are safe from ticks that could get to your dog. Not so! Ticks and other parasites are also seen in urban areas.
The prevalence of diseases that they can carry can vary with region. In Cook county, the most common tick-caused diseases, as per Idexx Laboratories, are: Lyme disease, Heartworm, Ehrlichia, and anaplasma.
What are all of these diseases?
Most pet owners and our more outdoors-y residents have no doubt heard of Lyme disease. Transmitted 2 types of tick, the deer tick/black-legged tick and the western black-legged tick, Lyme disease is an infection of the tissues. Lyme disease is zoonotic, meaning it a disease that can be spread between species. Symptoms in dogs can be difficult to detect and may not appear for several months after infection. While a “bull’s eye” rash at the site of the tick bite is associated with human infection, dogs have no such clear indicator. Symptoms may come and go and can mimic other health conditions. Symptoms include: leg lameness lasting for 3-4 days, fatigue, and lethargy/reluctance to move. Cases vary from mild to severe with severe cases sometimes resulting in kidney failure and death.
Ehrlichiosis in dogs comes in three forms that are region-specific. Like Lyme diease, Ehrlichia ewingii and Ehrlichia chaffeensis are zoonotic diseases. Ehrlichia canis is transmitted by the brown dog tick; Ehrlichia ewingii and Ehrlichia chaffeensis are transmitted by the lone star tick. Symptoms of canine ehrlichiosis may not be readily observable. If left untreated, any of subtype of Ehrlichiosis could progress to a chronic condition – which can last days, months or years without showing any symptoms. Symptoms include: Lack of energy/lethargy, loss of appetite, runny eyes & nose/discharge, spontaneous nose bleeds, bruising on gums & belly, lameness/joint pain, and leg lameness lasting for 3-4 days.
Anaplasmosis in dogs comes in two forms: Anaplasma phagocytophilum which is an infection of the white blood cells and Anaplasma platys, which is an infection of the blood platelets that can lead to bleeding disorders. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is caused by the deer tick/black-legged tick as well as by the western black-legged tick. When a dog is infected with Lyme disease, by these ticks, it increases the risk of co-infection chance with anaplasmamosis. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is also a zoonotic disease Anaplasma platys is transmitted by the brown dog tick. Symptoms include: Loss of appetite, Lethargy, neck pain, spontaneous nose bleeds, and bruising on gums & belly.
There are many holistic and veterinarian prescribed medications available. Your vet will be the best person to assess the right treatment regimen for your dog. Be thorough when you talk about your dog’s activity levels and outdoor exposure! Let your vet know if you’re heading home to the suburbs or camping in a more rural location so your vet can assess the risk to your dog and prescribe accordingly.
During your annual visit with your vet, your vet should include a vector-borne disease panel. Talk to your vet about any concerns.
Checking for Ticks
Brush your fingers through your dog’s fur. Apply pressure sufficient enough to feel for any small bumps. Don’t forget to check between your dog’s toes, behind ears, under armpits and around the tail and head! If you feel a bump, pull the fur apart to see what could be there. A tick that has embedded itself in your dog can vary in size – anywhere from the size of a pinhead to the size of a grape. Ticks are usually black or dark brown in color, but can turn a grayish-white hue after feeding.
If you believe that you found a tick, removal can be a tricky process. Call your vet or closest vet emergency for advice on removal or going in to schedule a removal.
We at Planned Property Management, wish you and your pup a very fun, active, and safe spring!
In keeping your dog healthy and happy make sure to check out our blog on How to tell if your pet is in pain!