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The Tick - Part Two
Illnesses Related to Ticks
Ailments or diseases are transmitted from ticks to the hosts during the feeding process. We will discuss these diseases and their symptoms so you can become aware of the symptoms and determine if it is necessary to get medical attention in the event that you or your pet is bitten.

Perils of the American Dog Tick

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever affects 800 people in the U.S. each year. It is a serious generalized illness transmitted through the bite of an infected tick.

People and pets infected with this ailment get a sudden fever that can last two to three weeks, bad headache, deep muscle pains, fatigue, chills and a rash that spreads across the body like wildfire. The symptoms usually appear three to 12 days after a tick bite. If left untreated, it can result in kidney failure and death.

Antibiotics and hospitalization is usually necessary. There is no vaccination to prevent this disease.

Tick Paralysis is a potentially deadly reaction to a paralyzing toxin contained in the saliva of a female tick in the late stages of her feeding. Other carriers of this disease include the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick and the Lone Star Tick. Signs of infection are headache, vomiting, loss of motor function and reflexes, general malaise, followed by paralysis that starts in the lower hemisphere of the body and spreads upwards. Paralysis can cause loss of respiratory ability. In young children, death can occur in one or two days. Interestingly enough, treatment for tick paralysis is simply removing the tick, thus removing the source of the neurotoxin.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is the most talked about of all tick diseases and for good reason. It is as much of a human issue as it is an animal issue.

About 100,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease annually. Humans and animals most vulnerable to Lyme Disease are those living in the Northeastern part of the U.S., near the Great Lakes and Northern California. Sporting dogs, camping dogs and dogs spending time in the forest preserves and the woodlands in these high-risk areas have the most substantial exposure to Lyme Disease.

First, we must clarify that the Black Legged Ticks are mere transporters of this disease, not the actual source. Lyme Disease comes from the white-tailed deer, their primary host. A typical early symptom of Lyme Disease is a slowly blooming red rash around the actual site. It usually appears within a week to a month after the bite. Sometimes, multiple and secondary skin rashes form as well. Though the majority of those infected begin sporting the classic red rash, many do not. Other symptoms of Lyme Disease-rash or no rash- include headache, neck stiffness, jaw discomfort, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, stiffness, elevated temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit), reddening of the eyes and swollen glands.

In animals, Lyme Disease is particularly hard to diagnose. Only a small amount of dogs infected ever show symptoms of Lyme Disease. If your dog is showing signs of fever and refuses to eat, be on the lookout. If your dog shows signs of lameness in two or more joints, swollen glands and absolutely no desire to play, then there's definitely a problem. Check your dog's entire body for ticks and see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will make his or her diagnosis by blood tests. Treatment is antibiotics for 10-14 days.

Like most infections left untreated, Lyme Disease can mature into more serious stages. This is where the joints, heart and central nervous system can get involved. There is a condition called "Lyme Arthritis," which is joint pain and swelling. Other health symptoms that can occur within one to three weeks after the rash include weakness, dizziness and irregular heartbeat. This may also include weakness of facial muscles and the drooping of an eyelid or the corner of the mouth. Needless to say, Lyme Disease is serious business. Contact your physician or veterinarian. For more information on Lyme Disease, visit and

Part Three: Removing a Tick

Part One: Introducing Ticks

Part Four: Preventing Ticks

This helpful tip came from a HealthyPetNet newsletter! Would you like to get this useful pet information through e-mail each month? Newsletters are free and often cover many important pet-related topics. Click here for more information!

Special Note: Although every effort has been made to present healthy products and useful information to support your pets' health, the products and information contained within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this site are not meant as a substitute for consultation with a trained veterinarian. If you are concerned about the health of your pets, you should ask your veterinarian for proper guidance suited to the specific condition of your pets. The owners of this website accept no liability for any consequences resulting from the use of products and/or information provided through this site. Please use your discretion when attending to your pets' health.
Special thanks to Fintan Darragh, Rich Bensen, Maggie, Jiji, and Mary Crissman for providing our pet pictures!
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