The effects of tick bites on dogs

Written by michaelb
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The effects of tick bites on dogs
Tick bites can be problematic for dogs. (black lab image by NorthShoreSurfPhotos from

Tick bites on dogs can be unpleasant and, in some cases, deadly. Ticks are carriers of various diseases---most commonly Lyme and Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever---that can cause problems for your canine friend. The earlier the tick and bite can be discovered, the lower the risk of disease. Veterinarians recommend that dogs wear flea and tick collars or use topical ointments for prevention. The effects of tick bites frequently occur between May and October, when ticks are most prevalent.

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The effects of tick bites include a high body temperature. Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease or Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever typically have fevers between 39.4 and 40.5 degrees C. Normal temperature is about 38.6 degrees C. The fever typically does not develop until at least two months after the bite.

Appetite Loss

A sick dog doesn't have the strength to do anything, much less eat. Look for obvious changes in his appetite. If he hasn't touched his food much since he was bitten by a tick, consult a vet.


If he is lacking the energy to go on walks, jogs or for a swim after being bit by a tick, consult a veterinarian. Dogs are usually full of spirit, so look for uncharacteristic changes in his behaviour. Inactivity almost always indicates some sort of health problem.

Sore and swollen limbs

When ticks feast, they suck blood out of a particular area. On dogs, this typically occurs in their limbs. Reduced blood in an area can lead to general tenderness and increased swelling.


Although rare, tick bites can cause temporary paralysis of the area. Tick paralysis involves a sample of blood from the dog entering into the tick, where it is mixed with other bacteria, and then regurgitated back into the dog. If untreated, tick paralysis can cause death.

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