Can Ticks Kill a Dog? Death by Ticks—Julia’s Story

The common way ticks pose a health risk to dogs is the transmission of diseases. Without timely diagnosis and treatment, some of these diseases can be life-threatening.

Some of the common tick-borne diseases include:

  • Lyme disease
  • ehrlichiosis
  • anaplasmosis
  • babesiosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Can Ticks Kill a Dog? Death by Ticks—Julia's Story

In the modern world, an undiagnosed or untreated infection is rare and pretty much the only way ticks can be fatal to a dog.

Julia’s story

This story takes place in the Philippines. Life is different there. Don’t be fast with judgment; it could happen here too.

It started with an owner asking for advice on removing ticks from her dog.

Apparently, she’s been trying for a while, testing various products and natural remedies. There was no photo of the dog but by the sound of it, there must have been quite a few ticks on the dog.

Removing ticks from a dog

The best way to remove ticks is to actually manually get them off.

There are different ways of doing that; we like using the Tick Twister. (This is not a sponsored post, we truly love this tool which was originally recommended to us by our vet.)

There are bad ways of trying to remove ticks, such as burning them with a hot match or a cigarette or smothering them with stuff. Stressing the tick out only results in increasing of it regurgitating their pathogenic content.

Julia didn’t want to cooperate

Unfortunately, Julia was resisting any attempts to remove the ticks manually.

With the dog responding aggressively, the only solution I could recommend was taking her to a vet and having them removed under sedation. They needed to come off.

The owner tried some more stuff to get them to come off, including Frontline. Julia remained covered by ticks.

Then she started having loose stools and stopped eating.

At the veterinarian

Finally, Julia was seen by a vet.

This was seven days after the original question was posted. Julia was full of infection, anemic and needing a blood transfusion. Transfusion wasn’t available and neither was the money to keep her hospitalized.

Julia passed the morning of the eighth day. Between the blood loss and the infection, she had no more strength to fight.

What is the moral of the story?

I am not sharing this story for anybody to pass judgment.

I know what it’s like to be broke. To have just enough money for bread and cream cheese to live on. Not to have any possessions to sell if money was needed.

Does it mean that poor people shouldn’t have dogs? This question has been raised many times. Poor people might not have money but they still do have love to give. Life to a dog who otherwise might not have had one.

What do you think?

Should a poor person turn away from a homeless dog because they might not afford it when the dog gets sick?

Instead of judging, we should help. Help by education, help by lending a helping hand.

Meanwhile, for all of us, let’s realize that ticks carry real danger.

A neighbor nearby where we live now has seen a young moose die in his yard, covered with ticks. If there are enough of them, they are deadly.

And let’s get our dogs used to handle, so if they get some they don’t fight their removal. And let’s all learn when we can try treating things at home and when veterinary intervention is needed.

Related articles:
The Ticking Bomb

Further reading:
5 Truly Tragic Ways Ticks Can Kill Your Dog

Categories: AnemiaConditionsParasitesTicks

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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