Ticks and Vector-borne Diseases

ticks & lyme disease - sunshine carers cyprus

Ticks and Vector borne Diseases

While Lyme disease is fairly well known, it is not the only disease that dogs or people can contract from ticks.

In addition to Lyme disease  which is the most common of tick borne diseases, ticks can also carry ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and other vector borne diseases.

What is Lyme Disease?

The disease is transmitted by the deer tick (often referred to as the black-legged tick) and the western black legged tick.  Lyme disease is an infection of the skin tissue that often leads to lameness. Lyme disease is zoonotic and can be very serious for both people and pets.

In general, symptoms in dogs are difficult to detect and may not appear until several months after infection. Also, symptoms may come and go and can mimic other health conditions. Cases vary from mild to severe with severe cases sometimes resulting in kidney failure and death.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

A  “bull’s eye” rash at the site of the tick bite is common with human Lyme disease infection. Dogs have no such indicator. In fact, a dog infected with Lyme disease may show few if any signs, but some of the more common symptoms of this disease can include any of the following:

  • Spontaneous and shifting leg lameness that lasts 3 to 4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression
  • Reluctance to move
  • Fatigue

Where is Lyme Disease Found?

Lyme disease can be found in a number of areas across Australia, throughout the United States and Canada.  The most frequently infected areas are diagnosed in the North Eastern states, Mid Atlantic and North Central states and California.

Is there a treatment for Lyme Disease ?

Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.  Most patients recover well with early treatment of Lyme disease.  It is also known that patients can recover quite quickly when treated with a few weeks of antibiotics being taken orally.

Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefotaxime axetil.  Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

In a small percentage of cases, these symptoms can last for more than 6 months. Although sometimes called “chronic Lyme disease,” this condition is properly known as “Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” (PTLDS).

Vector borne Zoonotic Diseases and Human Activity

Several articles, warn that human activities are spreading vector borne zoonotic diseases.  A number of articles have been published in the medical journal The LancetThese articles discuss how rapid changes in land use, trade globalization, and “social upheaval” are causing a resurgence in zoonotic disease around the world.

Examples of vector-borne zoonotic diseases include:

Many factors affect the incidence of vector borne diseases. These factors include animals hosting the disease, vectors and people.

Humans and Zoonotic Diseases

Humans and non-canine family members can also become infected with the same tick borne diseases as dogs.  Zoonotic is the cross over species of  these diseases.  If you live in an area infected by ticks or if you have ever found a tick on your pet, you should also check yourself and your family.

Dog Tick

Pets and Tick Bites

There is simply no way for pet owners to tell if a tick is carrying disease or not, and it only takes one tick bite to infect your dog.  It is also important to know that more than one of these diseases can be carried by ticks. This can lead to multiple infections, or co-infection.

What is common among all vector borne diseases, however, is that symptoms can be vague and difficult to recognize. Often pet owners don’t know their pet is suffering from a debilitating tick disease until it is too late.

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