What’s Bugging Your Dog?

Most Common Dog Diseases Transmitted by Parasites


7 Apr, 2020

READ 4 minutes

If you have a dog, then you probably agree that dogs are a breath of fresh air. They have a way of dragging you outside several times a day. Some days, it might be hard to tell who is walking whom — but we all agree that fresh air and sunshine can make any soul feel better. One important step is to make sure that, when you take your best friend outside, he or she is protected from little creatures that might want to bite or latch onto skin and fur because these teeny little bugs can wreak havoc with your world. They also transmit some nasty dog diseases. Changing weather patterns with warmer temperatures and milder winters are contributing to this risk by making it easier for disease-transmitting parasites to survive for more months of the year. Also, people are traveling more around the world with their dogs, picking up and moving diseases to new areas. Take a few moments to armor yourself with the knowledge that can protect your furry friends, your family, and you.


Ticks spread the parasitic germ (protozoa) Babesia, which causes Babesiosis, to dogs. This parasite infects the dog’s red blood cells leading to lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, heamolytic anemia (where the dog’s red blood cells break down), jaundice (i.e., yellowing of the skin, also called icterus), and weight loss. Specific tests, including blood tests and careful examination of blood smears, are needed to confirm the diagnosis. The treatment can be intensive, and blood transfusions may be required.


Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease that is transmitted in at least two forms with the scientific names: Anaplasma phagocytophilium and Anaplasma platys. Deer ticks and western black-legged ticks are ticks that can transmit Anaplasma phagocytophilium. This disease affects the white blood cells in dogs, cats, and humans. Fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, joint pain, and stiffness appear 1-2 weeks after infection. Anaplasma platys may be transmitted by the brown dog tick. This bacterial disease causes a decrease in platelet count in dogs, and sometimes cats. In addition to the clinical signs above, some animals may also suffer bruising and bleeding due to the decline in platelet count.


Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial disease transmitted to dogs, cats, and humans by the brown dog tick. This disease causes flu-like signs — fever, fatigue, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea — usually within one to three weeks of being bitten by an infected tick. Just as with Anaplasmosis, bleeding disorders can also occur in affected dogs.


Tiny creatures can make a significant impact! This is why it’s so important to take the necessary precautions to protect your furry friend at all times. Talk to your veterinarian about ways to prevent the spread of dog diseases through tick bites. Appropriate parasite control is vital and should be administered year-round to reduce the risk of infection that could cause serious harm.


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