“I tried to pull out a tick from my dog’s belly and he yelped and tried to bite me. What should I do? Should I be concerned about Lyme’s Disease in dogs?”
What to do when you see a tick on the dog’s belly?
- First of all, you must make sure that what you are seeing is indeed a tick. If your dog is hairy, you might want to first separate the fur to see if it is indeed a tick you are dealing with. You will be surprised to know that many pet owners accidentally go at the dog with tweezers, ending up injuring the dog’s nipples.
- After you are sure that there is indeed a tick bite on the dog’s belly, examine and inspect the dog completely. If needed, and especially if the pet is showing signs of lethargy, pain or fatigue, etc, promptly take the dog to the vet.
- If you do see a tick that is still attached to the dog’s belly, or anywhere else, carefully and firmly grasp it using tweezers or a tissue paper. Never pull a tick out with your bare hands as that can lead to infections, particularly if you have cuts on your skin.
- Once you have caught the tick on the dog’s belly, slowly and firmly pull it out, ensuring that no body parts are left behind.
- Naturally, if the dog does not allow you to do this, follow basic safety rules first. Many dogs get extremely angry when in pain and can snarl, growl or even bite their owners. It is best to seek the vet’s help in such cases where the dog can be muzzled before removing the tick from its body.
Bull’s eye rash on dog’s belly: What to do?
“ My 2 year lab has a red target like rash on his tummy area, but I do not see any ticks. Should I be concerned about Lymes Disease?”
Many dogs, especially those living in north eastern parts of USA are known to suddenly develop a bull’s eye rash. Often the owners do not see any ticks attached. Many vets see such cases in their office from time to time. However; not all cases are tick related. Often, mosquito bites, flea bites as well as infected hair follicles can lead to rashes of this type.Owners must take the following precautions:
- Observe the dog carefully. Watch out for signs of fatigue, appetite changes, joint pain etc.
- Pet owners know their dog the best. So one must decide if further testing is needed for the bull’s eye rash on the dog’s belly (or other parts of the body).
These days Lyme’s disease vaccine is available for dogs and if you live in a tick infested area, do consider getting it.
Tick on the dog’s belly: Other problems
“I had seen ticks on my dog’s belly and under the ears. But he seemed okay. Now it has been two weeks and today he suddenly seems unwell.”
Other than Lyme’s disease, ticks can cause a host of other problems. Many of their symptoms take 2 to 4 weeks to show up. Fortunately, for most tick borne illnesses, testing is readily available today. Once your vet has diagnosed what the exact problem is, one can start the right antibiotics.
Rocky Mountain Fever– This infection affects both dogs and humans and is caused by tick organism called Rickettsia Ricketsii. The organism attacks the lining of the blood vessels and can cause following symptoms:
- Cough, heavy breathing
- Purplish bruising on skin, red eyes
- Swelling of face, arms and legs.
Blood test can confirm the infection and treatment is usually plenty of rest with antibiotics.
Ehrlichiosis– This infection stems from tick bites and is more prevalent in the southern and midwestern parts of the US. It is characterized by following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
A blood test along with some other basic diagnostic tests can confirm this disease. Treatment is usually antibiotics.
Tick Paralysis– Often, tick bites on the dog’s belly go unnoticed and some days later the dog shows signs of paralysis. The hind legs in particular are affected in this case. Paralysis might be even seen in the chest muscles and as the disease progresses; the dog’s bark may be affected. Many dogs require ventilator support to breathe, without which, death is inevitable. This usually happens when the tick is not found and removed immediately. Most dogs recover quickly once the tick has been removed.
As can be seen, tick bites on the dog’s belly must not be ignored. Do watch out for signs of fever and lethargy and, if need be, take your pet to the vet’s immediately.