A dog was bitten by a tick: what is the danger of a bite and how to help the animal

With the arrival of spring, various insects wake up from hibernation, including those that pose a danger to living beings. Most dog owners have had to deal with such unpleasant bloodsuckers as ticks more than once.

Often, returning from a walk from a forest or park, the owners of four-legged pets remove these uninvited guests from the body of the animal. The insect itself does not pose a threat to the life of the dog, since it is unable to exsanguinate the animal, but ticks are carriers of dangerous diseases, many of which are fatal. Having found a parasite bloated from blood on the body of a fluffy pet, it must be urgently removed.

A dog affected by a tick bite is closely monitored, and if there are any suspicious signs, the pet is taken to the veterinarian.

Who are the ticks?

The tick belongs to the order of arachnid creatures that have inhabited the planet since ancient times. The size of insects rarely reaches more than 3 mm; most often there are individuals with a body length of only 0.1-0.5 mm. Due to its tiny size, the parasite is quite difficult to detect on a dog's body until it gets drunk with the animal's blood and grows tenfold.

The arthropod is devoid of wings and eyes; with the help of the sensory apparatus, the mites are perfectly oriented on the terrain and are able to smell their prey more than 10 m away.

Ticks lead a terrestrial life, waiting for their prey on the branches of bushes, sticks and blades of grass. With the help of claws and suction cups located on the paws of the bloodsucker, the tick is attached to the dog's coat. The parasite does not bite right away, in most cases it takes several hours before the arachnid finds a convenient place for biting on the animal's body (as a rule, the head, armpits, groin).

In nature, there are several varieties of ticks, but not all of them pose a danger to animals or humans, since some individuals are not bloodsuckers.

The most common blood-sucking parasites that pose a threat to the health of dogs are as follows:

Dog tick (brown) - It is considered completely harmless to humans, but dangerous to the life of a dog. It is found everywhere, but most of all on the Black Sea coast.

Ixodid tick -  It lives everywhere throughout the Eurasian continent. The insect is dangerous for all wild and domestic animals, as well as for humans.

Pasture mite - It is found in Western Siberia, in the south of the Russian Federation, in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, in the Transcaucasus and Kazakhstan. It is very dangerous for both animals and humans, is a carrier of deadly diseases (brucellosis, encephalitis , fever, plague ).

Parasites choose humid places for their habitat (paths with tall grass, ravines, flooded meadows, thickets along streams, etc.) An animal can pick up a tick not only on a walk, in some cases the owners of four-legged friends transport an uninvited guest on their clothes or shoes ... There are known cases of parasites hiding in door rugs and then attacking the dog.

The greatest peak in the activity of bloodsuckers is observed with the onset of spring and continues until the first cold weather appears (approximately from April to October).

What diseases do ticks carry?

The blood of a victim to an arthropod parasite is needed not only for nutrition, but also for procreation. The bloodsucker goes through 4 stages of development:

  • egg;
  • larva;
  • nymph;
  • imago (adult).

For dogs, only the last two are dangerous. A tick is not able to deprive a dog of a large amount of blood, even if more than a dozen insects are found in the animal. However, arthropods can be carriers of dangerous diseases that pose a threat to the life of a pet.

Not necessarily every bloodsucker who bites a dog will be infected; in most cases, the tick bite passes without any complications for the health of the animal.

According to statistics, only about 14% of ticks are carriers of serious diseases, such as:

Bartonellosis - caused by bacteria of the Bartonella class. The causative agent of the disease affects the red blood cells, macrophages and endothelial cells of the dog.

Ehrlichiosis is a group of diseases affecting granulocytes, platelets and monocytes of the animal's body. Caused by the causative agent of rickettsia, belonging to the genus Ehrlichia.

Piroplasmosis (babesiosis) is the most common tick-borne infection. The causative agent of the disease is microscopic babesia parasites, which destroy the red blood cells (erythrocytes) of the dog.

Hepatozoonosis is a non-infectious disease for humans, but a dangerous disease for a dog. It is caused by the protozoa of the Hepatozoon class, localized in the animal's leukocytes.

Borreliosis is a dangerous infectious disease for both dogs and their owners. Lyme disease is caused by microorganisms from the genus Borrelia. It affects the joints of animals and humans.

For dogs, not only a tick bite is dangerous, but also the accidental ingestion of an infected bloodsucker. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, the insect is digested, and the pathogen enters the dog's bloodstream and spreads throughout the body.

How and how to remove a tick from a dog

After the walk, the dog's body should be carefully examined for ticks. Usually, the parasite has not yet had time to adhere to the skin of the animal, so you should walk along the pet's coat with a brush. This way the parasite can be easily combed out. If the tick nevertheless bit the dog, it becomes like a crimson ball (from sucked blood) and the parasite must be immediately removed from the body of the four-legged pet.

To remove ticks, there are special devices that allow you to gently pull the bloodsucker out of the dog's skin. The most common tool for removing ticks is a plastic device that looks like a nail puller. The parasite is captured from the side, stretches slightly and turns several times around its axis. This device allows you to quickly and safely remove the bloodsucker from the dog's body, while avoiding tearing off the head and crushing the body of the parasite.

In the absence of special tools for unscrewing a tick, you can use proven folk methods:

  1. With the help of tweezers, the tick is captured at the site of its introduction under the skin of its head and gently loosened or rotated around the axis. It is impossible to squeeze the body of the parasite, the tick can simply burst.
  2. Heat the tip of the needle over a fire. Bring the needle to the point of insertion into the skin of the tick proboscis. As soon as the bloodsucker takes out the head, it is captured with tweezers.
  3. Using an ordinary thread, make a loop, put it on the parasite and carefully pull out the tick using the twisting method. You should be extremely careful, since sometimes the thread is able to cut the insect and then the head of the bloodsucker will remain in the wound.

The bite site is treated with any antiseptic (peroxide, brilliant green, iodine) and carefully monitor the condition of the four-legged pet. As soon as the dog develops suspicious symptoms, it is immediately taken to the nearest veterinary hospital.

It is best to entrust the removal of a tick from the dog's body to an experienced veterinarian, since only a specialist is able to remove the parasite competently and without complications. If there is no way to get to the veterinary hospital, the tick is pulled out on its own, carefully making sure that the proboscis and head of the insect do not remain in the wound. The pulled out bloodsucker is recommended to be taken to a local laboratory, where it will be checked for dangerous infections.

What not to do with a tick bite

There are many popular recipes and methods for removing a tick from a dog's body, however, such amateur performance can end up with serious consequences for the life of the animal.

It is forbidden to resort to the following methods:

Dripping vegetable oil onto the parasite . There is an opinion that vegetable oil is able to block the oxygen supply to the bloodsucker, and as a result, he will pull out his head. The tick will indeed begin to suffocate, but it may not loosen its grip. Everything will end with the insect dying from lack of air, and dangerous pathogens will enter the dog's bloodstream through the sucking apparatus relaxed by a dead tick.

Do not drip kerosene, nail polish, or gasoline on the tick. These aggressive agents will also cause the death of the parasite, and, most dangerous, can provoke poisoning of the dog.

Pull the insect up sharply. This method leads to the detachment of the head of the parasite, and this is fraught with infection of the four-legged pet (the tick's saliva will certainly enter the dog's bloodstream).

When pulling out a tick, you need to use rubber gloves, otherwise you can become infected with an infectious disease.

It should be remembered that a damaged tick drenched in oil (or other substances) will not be accepted into the laboratory for analysis, therefore it is not recommended to resort to folk methods to remove the bloodsucker.

When to see your veterinarian

Not all ticks are carriers of dangerous pathogens, so in most cases of bites, the help of a veterinarian is not required. As a rule, after the removal of the parasite, the wound on the animal's body heals quickly, but sometimes the dog may develop complications such as:

  • hind limb paralysis;
  • redness at the site of the bite;
  • itching, painful sensations;
  • local edema;
  • increased body temperature .

Such symptoms are caused by a neurotoxic reaction to insect saliva and, as a rule, disappear after the pet has been provided with veterinary care (administration of antihistamines, wound treatment). A pet should be urgently shown to a doctor if symptoms such as:

  • lethargy, apathy;
  • refusal of food and water;
  • bloody diarrhea , vomiting;
  • high body temperature ;
  • pallor or yellowing of the mucous membranes;
  • unpleasant odor from the mouth;
  • decrease or complete cessation of urination;
  • convulsions, paresis and paralysis.

The listed symptoms indicate the infection of the dog with dangerous infectious diseases transmitted from the tick.

Prevention of tick bites

It is quite possible to avoid tick bites and infection, you should adhere to simple rules:

  • Use insecticidal acaricidal agents (sprays, drops, collars) to protect against insects .
  • Do not walk your pet where ticks may live.
  • After a walk, carefully examine the dog's coat and remove parasites that have not yet sucked.
  • If a bloodsucker is found, it is carefully removed or the dog is taken to a veterinary facility, where an experienced specialist will safely remove the parasite from the dog's body.
  • Conduct timely vaccination of a pet against piroplasmosis.

Almost every dog owner will sooner or later have to deal with ticks, because these bloodsuckers live everywhere. Knowing how to act in the event of a tick bite, any owner will be able to protect his four-legged pet from fatal diseases.

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