Parasites pose major threat to canine friends

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:00am

It is very important to control tick infestation. Ticks jump on to your dog and use their mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck blood.

The presence of the tick itself can trigger skin disease through irritation, and during feeding, the tick can introduce microscopic organisms into your dog's blood which can cause systemic disease.

There are two main types of 'blood parasite' which can be introduced by ticks - Ehrlichia Sp and Babesia Spp.

The symptoms of disease caused by these parasites are wide and varied.

Signs to watch out for

Lethargy (lack of energy)

Anorexia (decreased appetite)


Dyspnoea (breathing problems)

Pallor (pale gums) or jaundice

Weight loss

Epistaxis (nose bleeds)


Haematuria or haemoglobinuria (blood tinged or 'tea' colour urine)

Spleenomegaly (enlarged spleen)

Bruising or bleeding problems


These infections can become serious and are sometimes difficult to treat. Generally, treatment includes a course of antibiotics and supportive drugs. The dog is monitored through blood tests, and very serious cases may need blood transfusions.


Use adequate flea and tick control. A tick collar can be used together with a number of flea and tick prevention products (seek advice from your veterinarian).

Avoid areas with heavy tick infestation.

Control the environment where possible, using appropriate products and keep vegetation levels down.

Remove ticks by hand if you see them.

If you are concerned, contact your veterinary surgeon.

The SPCA is an organisation that deals with animal welfare. It aims to prevent and suppress cruelty to animals. The organisation welcomes pet owners and non-pet owners to show their concern for homeless animals. If you would like to join or find out more about the SPCA, call the membership department on 2802-0501