Visible effects of ticks on dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

According to Dogs and Ticks, although humans can be bitten by a tick, dogs are more likely to be bitten. Because of this, they are more likely to contract one of the many diseases a tick can carry, such as Lyme disease or anaplasmosis. Knowing the physical signs of a tick bite can help you determine when medical attention is necessary.


Regardless of the disease contracted from a tick bite, your dog will likely develop pain. Pain can be localised to the legs or run through the dog's entire body. It can lead to lameness, which can manifest itself in the form of limping. In more extreme cases your dog will not put the limb down at all. You may also notice your dog yelps or whines when pressure is exerted on the limb or if you touch it. Your dog may be hesitant to move because it anticipates the pain that will result. In general, pain is not gradual but appears suddenly following the bite.

Swollen Joints

Your dog's joints may develop inflammation, leading to arthritis. Swelling of the joints, such as at the knees, may be visible. As the swelling progresses and the joints become stiffer, your dog may begin to limp. Swollen joints often radiate heat as well. The swelling usually is sudden onset, shortly following the tick bite.

Loss of Appetite

Commonly with canine ehrlichiosis or canine anaplasmosis, your dog can lose its appetite causing weight loss. Other digestive problems, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, often accompany the loss of appetite and weight loss.

Cold-like Symptoms

Your dog may develop cold-like symptoms. Some dogs run a fever, which can change their temperament; others may develop a cough. In the case of canine ehrlichiosis, your dog may also develop swollen lymph nodes, a runny nose and draining eyes. According to Puppy Training Solutions, these, as well as all other symptoms, may not be because of the tick bite but do indicate a problem with your dog that should be examined by a veterinarian.


As diseases begin to affect your dog, you may notice a loss of energy. This can be brought on by several causes. For example, a dog in pain that is reluctant to move may appear to be lethargic. Also, a dog that is vomiting or not eating will be weaker. Other dogs develop fevers that make them lethargic. Even if no other symptoms are present, your dog may be sluggish or act depressed.

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