Learn what symptoms are related to canine tick bites in chihuahuas and how to protect your tiny dog from this bad experience. Chihuahuas’ parents located in or traveling through high-risk areas for ticks should know how to prevent and recognize possible exposure and what to do in case of a bite.
What are Ticks? And What is their danger?
Ticks are very small arachnids that are connected to spiders and mites. These microscopic creatures survive by feeding on blood and securely attaching themselves to their food sources while feeding. They can take several days to finish feeding on one animal if left untreated. During this period of contact, ticks can become very efficient disease carriers for their victims, both humans, and pets.
Ticks wait for their victims in the grass and the tips of shrubs, generally in dog parks. When these small creatures feel the passing of a warm-blooded creature, they take the chance to drop onto their victim. In fact, ticks can’t fly or even jump, the only way how they move is by crawling.
There are various varieties of ticks. The most popular one is the Deer Tick, which has been known to be responsible for Lyme disease. Also, there are Other types like the Brown Dog Tick. They are very rarely reported to bite humans because they have the tendency to focus their attention on small mammals such as dogs and cats.
How to Tell If Your Chihuahua Has Been Bitten by a Tick
At the start, the only way to know is to check the whole body of your chihuahua for ticks. Check areas such as their inside ears, paw, and pads. The sooner you take them off, the less chance your chihuahua has of getting a tick-borne illness from it.
The symptoms in chihuahuas are similar to the ones that humans show. But it is hard to notice them because of the fur.
Here are some symptoms that your chihuahua may display
- Move their head.
- Scratch at a particular spot in your chihuahua’s body.
- The color of chihuahua skin may be red and inflamed.
As mentioned earlier ticks can lead your chihuahua to get Lyme disease, here are some symptoms of this condition :
- Excessive Fever.
- Pain in muscles and joints.
- Rash that spreads around the bite (you can only notice in areas where there is no hair).
- Loss of appetite.
- Lack of activity.
- Weight issues.
- Neurological signs.
- Inflated lymph nodes.
- Too much drinking or/and urination.
- Kidney issues.
External: Fleas and Ticks
There are numerous species of ticks your chihuahua may be exposed to depending on what part of the world you live in.
For instance, Deer ticks are popular in the Eastern United States and are known to be responsible for Lyme Disease. Also, In Southern parts of the US, we can spot the Lone Star tick that carries Ehrlichiosis or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In addition, in Africa, there are even more creatures that are very dangerous to both humans and dogs.
If you are located in the US and you want to know which species that are in your area you can check out this link.
One of the most popular diseases that ticks can carry is Lyme Disease. This condition often does not lead to clinical signs in chihuahuas and many are diagnosed based on routine screening.
Chihuahuas that do become symptomatic of Lyme Disease can suffer from serious complications. As discussed before the Minor signs of the disease include fever and joint pain. However, there is a very serious complication of Lyme disease which is Lyme Nephritis. This condition can lead to injuries to the kidneys, causing kidney failure in your chihuahua.
In addition, there are Other additional common fleas and tick-borne diseases such as Babesia, Bartonella, Hepatozonosis, Tularemia, Anaplasmosis, and Tick Paralysis.
Some of these conditions can lead to mild signs of infection, however, others are considered life-threatening. For this reason, systematic prevention is a must, at least once a month.
How to protect your chihuahua from fleas and ticks (preventive tips)?
The favorable tip to prevent fleas and ticks from biting our dogs and transmitting diseases to them is by following a strict preventive plan prescribed by your vet. There are various options for prevention you can discuss with your veterinarian. Such as Oral and topical options. Most veterinarians will advise treating your chihuahua seasonal, It depends on your region.
How to Prevent Tick Bites and Infection in chihuahuas?
It is hard to stop your chihuahua from running in areas where there are trees and grass around. These areas can be infested with ticks. But, there are tips to decrease the chance of getting tick bites. You can follow the tips below:
- Buy flea and tick repellent from pet stores and/or veterinary offices. Put in mind that you should respect usage instructions and avoid spraying on sensitive body parts such as the dog’s eyes and mouth. Reapply as directed to deter ticks.
- In high-risk areas, you should keep your chihuahua on a leash to avoid rolling on tall grasses that may contain ticks.
- Avoid letting chihuahuas run and play free in tall grassy areas that are prone to tick infestations.
- Utilize monthly flea and tick preventative after seeing your vet.
- Check your chihuahua immediately after walking or any session that requires going out. This way, you can remove the tick before it is attached to the chihuahua’s skin.
How to react when your chihuahua has been bitten by a tick?
Initially, you should remove the tick as soon as possible
- Use a cotton ball saturated with alcohol then clean the area and put it on the tick. Because in some cases this will make the tick detach from your chihuahua’s skin.
- Hold the tick using a pair of tweezers and promptly pull it straight out, But be careful not to crush the tick.
- After removing the tick, put it in a small container of alcohol to show it your vet wants to see it. Put in mind that Not all types of ticks lead to Lyme disease so identification by your vet is important.
- Clean the affected area thoroughly with alcohol.
- Wash and disinfect your hands.
- You can ask your vet if he/she wants you to bring the chihuahua in. If yes, you can bring the tick in too. In fact, Tick bites and their infections are treatable using antibiotics, however, early detection and removal are so important. Symptoms of tick-borne disease will take weeks to display its symptoms, so most vets will not ask you to bring your chihuahua in or treat it with antibiotics unless the dog is sick or showing some symptoms.
Generally, Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections are treatable illnesses when recognized immediately. Keep a close eye on your chihuahua to make sure that any tick issues are dealt with as quickly as possible.
Items You Will Need
If you are the parent of a chihuahua you should have the following items:
- Jars of alcohol: to wipe your dog’s skin and another jar, to put the tick in to show it to your vet.
- A few cotton balls.
- Tick remover tool or Tweezers.
- Hand sanitizer for you to clean and disinfect your hands.
Ticks are small nasty creatures and little bloodsuckers. No one enjoys having to deal with them. However, as a chihuahua parent, you will have to do it at some point or another and Most of us have found a tick several times on our dog. This is a fact, but knowledge is power. This is why you should prepare yourself with info and items to prevent ticks and their bad impact on your chihuahua.
Can you please leave a comment to talk about your experience with ticks and fleas? Do you have any suggestions or a special tip to deal with them?
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