We all love to play outside during the warmer weather, including our pets. But if your pets aren’t on a year-round flea and tick preventative, they could end up being more than just exhausted after a fun day outside. Protecting your pets from ticks is an important part of protecting their health because several diseases can be transmitted to your pet from a tick bite.

The most common tick-borne diseases that affect pets are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Tick Paralysis.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by deer ticks. Common signs of Lyme Disease include lameness, fever, swollen lymph nodes and joints, and a reduced appetite. In severe cases, animals may develop kidney disease, heart conditions, or nervous system disorders. Oral antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. There is also a vaccine for Lyme disease available for dogs (though there isn’t one currently for cats).

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease transmitted by ticks to all pets, although cats are not as likely to be infected. Symptoms include fever, reduced appetite, depression, pain in the joints, lameness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some pets may develop heart issues, pneumonia, kidney failure, liver damage, or seizures. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics, which in most cases, can clear the infection.


Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis appear a few weeks after a tick bite and include depression, reduced appetite, fever, stiff and painful joints, and bruising. Antibiotics are usually given for up to four weeks to completely clear the organism. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics, which in most cases, can clear the infection.

Tick Paralysis

Tick paralysis is caused by a toxin secreted by ticks that affects the nervous system. Dogs affected become weak and limp, but this isn’t common in cats. Symptoms begin about a week after the tick bite and include a weakness that begins in the rear legs, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. This condition can lead to death, so contact your veterinarian immediately to receive an antitoxin.

At PetWow, we specialize in a multitude of services for both cats and dogs, including year-round flea and tick prevention. To schedule your appointment, call us today at 513-738-9691 to schedule your appointment at our Highland Heights or Florence Kentucky locations, or for At Home Veterinary Care. For more pet care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn!