Ticks are small, arachnid insects that lead a parasitic lifestyle and feed on the blood of the carrier. Pyroplasmosis, it is customary to determine how tick-borne encephalitis in dogs, in fact, from here came the "folk name" - encephalitis tick. However, encephalitis is more likely a consequence of toxoplasmosis - more on that below. Parasites actively attack dogs by injecting virus cells into the body of an animal when they bite. The disease is classified as fleeting, and mortality from pyroplasmosis, in the absence of urgent treatment, is more than 98%, so any, even inexperienced dog owner should be able to detect signs of tick-borne encephalitis in dogs and provide emergency care.
The course of the disease, stages and signs of infection
After getting on the dog’s body, the tick selects the “ideal” place for a bite, on average it takes 1.5-2 hours. Usually, the parasite selects parts of the body with thinner and more tender skin - the neck, ears, stomach, armpits, or the inside of the thigh. During the bite, anesthetic substance is sprayed into the skin of the dog with saliva, which gives the tick time to fully fix.
The insect needs only the blood of the dog, so when pumped, the tick digests the “food” for some time, and then injects “waste” into the dog’s blood - not digested, but infected plasma. The process continues until the parasite is completely saturated, while the females significantly increase in size - bloat, see photo.
From the time of a tick bite to the onset of the first symptoms, an inconspicuous incubation period passes. Rarely, there is a weakness, or rather, the "thoughtfulness" of an animal. The duration of the incubation period depends on several factors:
- The number of bites of infected ticks.
- The general condition of the immune system and the health of the dog.
- The age of the animal, dogs over 4 years old have a resource of resistance to the virus.
- Previous cases of pyroplasmosis allow the dog to develop temporary resistance to the virus.
- The presence of vaccination against pyroplasmosis allows you to develop a weak immunity to the virus - the mild form is asymptomatic, the acute is controlled.
In the total time of incubation of the virus, a factor is included on what the encephalitis tick looks like in dogs during elimination. If the body is swollen, the parasite is on the body of the animal from 2 to 10 hours, and the incubation period lasts from 20 hours to 2 weeks.
A number of signs that manifest tick-borne encephalitis in dogs develops on an increasing basis, most often, from 12 to 24 hours pass from the first symptom to the severe stage:
- General deterioration - weakness, depression, apathy, an increase in basic body temperature to 40-41 °. The condition is observed for 1-2 days, after which temporary relief comes. Many owners perceive the alarm as a temporary ailment.
- Complete rejection of food.
- Shaky gait - weakness in the hind legs, up to the loss of balance.
- Urine acquires a brown, brown, greenish-black color - the most accurate sign of pyroplasmosis.
- The sclera is pale or yellow.
- Often, diarrhea with disseminated blood, vomiting.
Note! Treatment of an early stage takes 1-2 days, and after that, rehabilitation therapy is carried out. The severe stage is cured in 75% of cases, but the recovery period is from 5 to 20 days. Do not ignore the dog's weakness if there is a risk of a tick bite!
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tick-borne encephalitis in dogs
More often than not, the clinical picture is enough to determine the exact diagnosis. However, if the owner has removed the tick from the dog and only the early signs of piroplasmosis are observed, a fence and laboratory analysis of urine is done to confirm or remove the presumptive diagnosis.
Note! In a young and strong animal, the kidneys can normally tolerate the increased load, if the urine analysis is "smeared", insist on a blood test!
Infected plasma, in a short time, deals a large-scale blow to all body systems. At the stage when urine changes color, invasion (infection) reaches the maximum permissible norms. It is necessary to immediately help the dog, take it to the clinic or purchase the drug yourself and give injections.
- The "main" drug is purchased in specialized pet stores and veterinary pharmacies. Of the commonly available drugs, recommend: Piro-Stop, Pirosan, Veriben, Azidine-Vet and analogues.
- Without fail, along with treatment and after it, supportive therapy of the kidneys and liver is carried out, if necessary - the heart.
- To reduce the risk of negative consequences, a parallel administration of saline and diuretic drugs is performed - it accelerates blood purification, but gives a strong burden on the kidneys.
Within 1-2 hours after administration of the main drug, the active destruction of pyroplasm and the destruction of damaged red blood cells begins, which leads to blockage of the renal channels if maintenance therapy is not carried out.
It is quite difficult to protect the dog from pyroplasmosis. The virus affects young individuals who are most active and less resistant to tick bites. Regular treatment with prophylactic drugs and vaccination is a complex that helps reduce the risk of infection and increase the chance of transferring the virus in a milder form.
Useful information! An additional precaution - a collar designed to protect against fleas and ticks, it scares off parasites by smell, which protects the dog directly from being bitten and infected.
Possible effects of tick-borne encephalitis in dogs
Complications are associated with the specific behavior of the virus - the "enemy" penetrates red blood cell cells and destroys them from the inside. Visually, the improvement of the dog’s condition after the start of treatment is observed after 10-12 hours, but this is not associated with a complete recovery, but with the weakening of the disease. The process of illness and treatment can be divided into several stages:
- Virus cells that are in intact red blood cells multiply actively, destroying the "temporary shelter".
- Fragments of dead cells are excreted through the kidneys. A large waste stream and toxicity of the body lead to overload, as a result of chronic renal failure.
- After the start of treatment, a “blow” to the liver and central nervous system occurs.
Supportive care reduces the risk of the following complications:
- Renal failure due to blockage of channels by dead cells.
- Liver failure - provoked by the active substance of the pyroplasmosis vaccine.
- Heart failure and hypotension - triggered by a drop in hemoglobin and oxygen starvation, due to the mass death of red blood cells.
- Chronic anemia - a lack of essential substances for blood formation, decreased hemoglobin, "extinction" of metabolic processes.
- Damage to the central nervous system, most often, manifests itself in convulsions and ends in death. The main reason is cerebral edema caused by tissue inflammation. The question whether dogs have tick-borne encephalitis is considered controversial. Given the similarity of symptoms and clinical presentation, it follows that encephalitis can be a consequence of pyroplasmosis. However, death occurs in too short a time, which does not fully differentiate the diagnosis.
Encephalitis in dogs as a result of pyroplasmosis
The disease is not taken separately, due to the lack of adequate treatment. Encephalitis is accompanied by symptoms similar to pyroplasmosis, but CNS disorders become noticeable already at an early stage. The disease is accompanied by an acute reaction of the body, does not respond to treatment, leads to the death of the animal - euthanasia is recommended.
- Acute fever.
- Loss of coordination.
- Motor impairment - the dog cannot walk, salivation, scattered eyes, unnatural movements are observed.
- Cramps, causeless paralysis.
- From a behavioral point of view - an extreme degree of apathy or riot.
Not a common but possible complication of the disease. It is observed in animals with a high level of immunity, piroplasmosis passes in a latent form and is suppressed by the body without external intervention. After recovery, the dog has a "non-sterile" immunity - containing a small amount of attenuated virus. Chronic pyroplasmosis is not dangerous, as long as the dog is completely healthy, with a drop in the level of immune defense, the disease can resume on its own, without a tick bite. In dogs with chronic pyroplasmosis, the incubation period is delayed, with repeated infection.