All about deadly tick fever!
‘TICK FEVER’ is the general name for various tick-borne diseases including Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. At least 6 species of canine tick-borne pathogens are present in India. Tick fever can be deadly if not caught in time.
SYMPTOMS TO WATCH OUT FOR: fever, lack of appetite, weakness, weight loss, nosebleed, shivering.
Blood and urine tests may reveal anemia, low platelets, low albumin (a blood protein), and bilirubinuria (a pigment from breaking down red blood cells is found in the urine).
TEST: If you or your vet suspects tick fever, a test for tick fever pathogens can be carried out.
TREATMENT: The vet will usually prescribe antibiotics (such as doxycycline) together with supplements for anaemia. Serious cases may require blood transfusions.
PROGNOSIS: If the tick fever is caught early, then the outcome is good.
PREVENTION: Ticks can be deadly. Check your dogs regularly for ticks and control ticks with one of the following:
1. TICK AND FLEA POWDER containing the active ingredient Propoxur is effective and can be used on dogs, and puppies above two months. It gets to work straight away and continues to work while the powder is still on. The powder must be applied all over, avoiding any wounds. It is relatively cheap, costing around ₹ 150 for 100g, and can also be dusted where the animal sleeps. Can be reapplied weekly. Brand names include Bolfo and No-Tix.
2. SPOT-ON PIPETTES containing a liquid with the active ingredients Fipronil and (S)-Methoprene are very effective. They do not need to be applied all over, instead the liquid should be squeezed on the skin at 3-4 points along the back. They can be used on street dogs who don’t like to be touched a lot. It takes 1-2 days to work. Not for small puppies. One application should be effective for around one month (but this depends, sometimes it’s only effective for a couple of weeks) and costs around ₹ 300 so can be a little expensive. Brand names include Advance and Fiproclear.
3. SPRAYS containing the active ingredient Fipronil are available. They are very effective and get to work immediately. They must be sprayed all over, avoiding face. It continues to work and can be applied weekly. Not for small puppies. The cost is around ₹ 400 for 100ml so can be a little expensive. Brand names include Freedom, Protektor and Fiprofort.
4. TICK AND FLEA SHAMPOOS containing the active ingredient Cypermethrin are very effective and can remove and kill all parasites and eggs within ten minutes. Difficult to use on unfriendly street dogs but very effective and economical for friendly dogs. Doesn’t continue to work, but can be repeated weekly. Can be used on puppies above two months. Make sure animal doesn’t lick. Cost is cheap, around ₹ 150 for 200ml. Brand names include Clinar Pet and Reltix.
5. HERBAL LOTIONS AND SPRAYS are available that include ingredients such as neem oil, camphor or cedarwood oil. Economical but their effectiveness varies. May be safe for puppies depending on the formula.
6. CHEWABLE TABLETS containing Fluralaner or Sarolaner are highly effective and can keep a dog free of ticks and fleas for three months, and can also kill the mites which cause mange. Not for puppies. Not cheap, they cost around ₹ 2000 for a dog of 20kg. Consult a veterinarian before administering. Brand names include Bravecto and Simparica.
Very young puppies can be treated with a flea comb.