What is the first thing to do if your dog is bitten by a tick? It is necessary to remove the tick. This is best done with a special tick remover.
If you do not have a remover, take the tick firmly and calmly with your thumb and forefinger as close to the skin as possible. Preferably do this through a thin layer of cloth (bandage, handkerchief, etc.) Even toilet paper will do, if nothing else is at hand). Then, holding the tick firmly in place, with a firm, calm and sure motion pull the tick firmly up and sideways at the same time. Most likely, the tick will be removed with its head.
If the head of the tick remains in the skin, there is no need to panic, much less remove it surgically. Just once a day treat the bite site with a 5% solution of iodine. Soon a small dry crust will form, which usually falls off on its own. If the bite site does become inflamed, take your dog to the vet.
Should the Dog Pass Piroplasmosis Test after a Tick Bite?
The answer to this question is controversial. Indeed, such an analysis does exist, and the lab at our clinic performs it.
However, many ticks do not carry the pathogen of pyroplasmosis of dogs, and you may just remove them and watch how your dog feels.
If you do decide to have the tick removed from your dog tested at the lab to see if it is a vector of pyroplasmosis, place it in a dry, clean jar and bring it to the lab as soon as possible. Dried out, long dead tick is not suitable for the test.
When performing this test you should remember that:
- You cannot be sure that this is the only tick that has bitten your dog. A feeding tick can make your dog itchy and with vigorous scratching, the tick may fall off, having already infected your dog.
- Even if the tick is a carrier of babesiosis, there is no 100% guarantee that your dog will get sick. A dog’s immune system, especially if it has already had babesiosis, can quickly neutralize the few parasites that have entered with the tick bite and prevent the disease from developing.
How Is Pyroplasmosis Diagnosed in Dogs?
When an acute pyroplasmosis is suspected, the doctor sends the dog for a blood test, the result of which must be ready quickly (our lab does the test for pyroplasmosis within an hour).
- Usually a drop of blood is taken from the ear of the animal (just like from a human finger), since it is more possible to find the pathogen of pyroplasmosis in the peripheral (capillary) blood than in the venous blood.
- The laboratory doctor prepares a smear from the blood on a glass, stains it with a special dye and looks under a microscope.
- In the case of the disease, the pathogen of pyroplasmosis of dogs is found in the erythrocyte. This is enough to make a diagnosis.
If the disease occurs chronically or with delayed symptoms, and pyroplasmosis is not detected on a blood smear, an additional blood test for pyroplasmosis by PCR may be required (also performed at our laboratory).
Treatment of Pyroplasmosis in Dogs
Effective treatment of pyroplasmosis in dogs is achieved by simultaneous use of:
- specific therapy aimed directly at the destruction of the pathogen of pyroplasmosis in the blood,
- use of preparations for mobilization of defense mechanisms of immunity and
- symptomatic treatment to normalize the disturbed functions in the dog’s body.
In most cases, to treat pyroplasmosis in dogs, an injection of a special drug that kills pyroplasmas and drips with drug solutions to relieve intoxication and restore vital functions are used.
The decision on how to treat pyroplasmosis in the dog, the use of certain drugs in each specific situation should be taken by a doctor, as the degree of involvement of systems and organs in the pathogenic process can be different.
Treatment of pyroplasmosis in dogs should be carried out only after a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis.