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Preventing dog tick fever

Dog Tick fever - Japan animal hospital

Safeguarding dogs: Understanding & preventing dog tick fever

Are you concerned about tick fever for your pets? Don’t worry.

Today, Japan Animal Hospital will alleviate any apprehensions around tick fever and provide you with all the essential information to keep your furry friends happy and healthy.

What is tick fever?

Tick fever in dogs is a tick-borne disease that can affect your dog’s bloodstream, white blood cells, and platelets. It can be caused by various species of bacteria from the genera Ehrlichia and Anaplasma, which are transmitted to dogs through the bite of infected ticks. Some of the common tick species that can carry and transmit these bacteria are the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, the deer tick, and the Rocky Mountain wood tick.

The symptoms of tick fever in dogs can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection, but they may include fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, breathing difficulties, abdominal pain, and seizures. Some dogs may also develop purplish-red spots inside the eyelids and mouth or blood in the feces. The symptoms of tick fever in dogs can take up to 14 days to appear after the tick bite and can be similar to other illnesses1. Therefore, it is important to consult a veterinarian if you notice any signs of tick fever in your dog.

The diagnosis of tick fever in dogs is based on a physical examination, blood tests, urinalysis, and x-rays. The treatment of tick fever in dogs usually involves a course of antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, or minocycline. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be needed to treat anemia caused by tick fever. The prognosis of tick fever in dogs depends on the timeliness and effectiveness of the treatment, as well as the overall health of the dog. If left untreated, tick fever can be life-threatening for dogs.

What to do when your pet has a tick

Does your pet have a tick? Keep calm.

Take your dog or cat to your trusted vet who will remove the tick, and can suggest a suitable prevention method.

If your pet feels sick after the tick bite (see symptoms below), consult your vet immediately.

dog tick fever


The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, is the most common tick found on domestic dogs in Southeast Asia.

Dog Tick fever symptoms

Once your dog is infected by the bacteria it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to begin to show. The symptoms of tick fever in dogs are somewhat vague and extremely varied and can come and go making a diagnosis of tick fever challenging in some cases.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Nose bleeds
  • Spontaneous pinpoint bruising 
  • Lethargy
  • Temperature above 40.5°C
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Limping or joint pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Facial or limb swelling
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Abdominal pain

So, how can you be sure if your dog has tick fever or suffers from another disease?

Diagnosis of tick fever

Results of a complete blood count that point to tick fever include low platelet count, anemia, and abnormal white blood cell counts.

If your pet’s blood cell counts are indicative of the possibility of tick fever, the infection can be confirmed with the help of rapid tests for the antibodies to the specific bacteria in the blood, which we have available here at VSL. The price of the rapid test 38.50$ and the results are available on the same day.


However, as it takes the immune system some time to manufacture antibodies, these tests may be falsely negative in the very early stages of infection and therefore may need to be repeated.


 The present study showed that tick-borne pathogens are highly prevalent among companion dogs in Khon Kaen Province. Therefore, we encourage an increase in tick control or the reduction and prevention of tick-borne diseases in this region. Furthermore, this study revealed that ticks are valuable samples for the molecular detection of tick-borne pathogens.

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