tickTick Diseases in Dogs

Ticks can carry diseases that will make our dogs very sick. Do you know which tick-borne diseases are in the area where you live? Do you know the symptoms of tick-borne diseases in dogs?

Most ticks transmit diseases into the bloodstream of their host by biting and attaching themselves. One of the diseases below is transmitted when the dog ingests a tick infected with a disease.

What are Ticks?

Ticks are parasites that attach to animals and people to feed on their blood. They directly transmit diseases into the blood stream of their host when they bite them.

Where are Ticks?

Ticks can be found all across the US and most of the world, including many urban areas. Just because you live in a city does not mean there are not ticks around. Click here to see a geographic distribution of ticks that bite humans.

Tick Diseases

Lyme Disease

The common brown deer tick can carry Lyme disease. The tick must be attached to it’s host for more than 48 hours. Symptoms can occur 2 to 5 months after the tick attaches. Symptoms can include fever, joint pain and swelling, limping, lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes.

Lyme disease can be diagnosed through a blood test, and then treated with antibiotics. Treatments can last from 14 days to 30 days. If you live in an area were Lyme disease occurs, talk to your veterinarian about the vaccination for Lyme disease.

wood tickRocky Mountain Spotted Fever

The American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, the brown tick and the Lone Star tick can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These ticks live in North and South America.

Symptoms can appear within a few day and can include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, poor appetite, anemia, vomiting and joint pain. Sometimes neurological signs will appear including wobbliness.


Ehrlichiosis is a tick borne disease found around the world and is transmitted through a brown dog tick. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, depression, runny nose, watery eyes, problems breathing, bloody noses, enlarged lymph nodes and swollen limbs.


Anaplasmosis, also called dog fever, has symptoms similar to Lyme disease with the addition of vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, seizures are possible.


This disease is spread through the American dog tick and the brown tick. Symptoms include anemia, fever, swollen lymph nodes, weakness and dark urine. Ticks carrying this disease live around the world in many areas.


Bartonellosis can be spread by the brown tick, lice and fleas. Symptoms can include lameness, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, shivering and restlessness. Untreated it can cause heart and liver disease and can be found throughout the world.


This disease is transmitted when a dog eats an infected brown dog tick or a Gulf Coast tick. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, watery eyes, muscle pain and bloody diarrhea. This disease thrives in tropical and temperate regions.

Preventing Tick Borne Diseases

Talk to your veterinarian about ticks that may be in your area and things you can do to prevent these tick-borne diseases and ask about vaccines and flea and tick preventatives for your dog. My dog, Freckles, uses K-9 advantix II that you can see here.

Use a flea and tick prevention on your dog to prevent these tick-borne diseases. Prevention is the key, not treatments!

If you see a tick on your dog, keep in mind that every tick does not carry a disease. Keep an eye on your dog and watch for symptoms. See your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Leave a comment below or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.