Safeguarding dogs: Understanding & preventing tick fever

Safeguarding dogs: Understanding & preventing tick fever

Are you concerned about tick fever for your pets? Don’t worry.

Today, VSL veterinarian Dr. Seán will alleviate any apprehensions around tick fever and provide you with all the essential information to keep your furry friends happy and healthy.

What is tick fever?

Tick fever is a term used to cover several intracellular bacterium which are transmitted through tick bites to dogs including but not limited to Anaplasma species and Ehrlichia Canis.

These bacteria then multiply in the blood damaging blood cells. This is common in Cambodia and can be life threatening if left untreated for your pet.

What to do when your pet has a tick

Your pet has a tick? Keep calm.

Take your dog or cat to your trusted vet who will remove the tick, and can suggest a suitable prevention method.

If your pet feels sick after the tick bite (see symptoms below), consult your vet immediately.


Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse areas for ticks worldwide. The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, is the most common tick found on domestic dogs in Southeast Asia.

Tick fever symptoms

Once your dog is infected by the bacteria it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to begin to show. The symptoms of tick fever in dogs are somewhat vague and extremely varied and can come and go making a diagnosis of tick fever challenging in some cases.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Nose bleeds
  • Spontaneous pinpoint bruising 
  • Lethargy
  • Temperature above 40.5°C
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Limping or joint pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Facial or limb swelling
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Abdominal pain

So, how can you be sure if your dog has tick fever or suffers from another disease?

Diagnosis of tick fever

Results of a complete blood count that point to tick fever include low platelet count, anemia, and abnormal white blood cell counts.

If your pet’s blood cell counts are indicative of the possibility of tick fever, infection can be confirmed with the help of rapid tests for the antibodies to the specific bacteria in the blood, which we have available here at VSL. The price of the rapid test 38.50$ and results are available on the same day.

However, as it takes the immune system some time to manufacture antibodies, these tests may be falsely negative in the very early stages of infection and therefore may need to be repeated.

Full Body Pet Health Check

VSL also offers a full body pet health check, which includes:

  • Consultation 33$
  • Blood Sampling $16.50
  • Complete Blood Count $16.50$
  • Biochemistry Profile 86.72$

During the month of November 2023, this full body health check only costs 129$ (saving 15%).

Tick fever treatment

After diagnosis, tick fever treatment consists of 3-4 weeks of antibiotic therapy, sometimes combined with vitamin or nutritional supplementation.

After the completion of the course of antibiotics, it is essential to repeat the complete blood count to confirm recovery. Blood transfusions may be required in severe cases.

Prevention of tick fever in pets

To prevent this disease we must protect our pets from tick bites. We can do this by keeping them up to date on their tick and flea prevention medication. Depending on the product selected they can offer protection for 1-3 months.

We can discuss these options with you at VSL during a routine consultation or vaccination appointment in order to help you choose a tick and flea prevention plan that works for you and your pet.

We have a reminder service to help ensure that your pet stays up to date with their tick and flea prevention. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Common questions around tick fever

  • Is tick fever in dogs fatal? Yes! It can be if left untreated.
  • Is tick fever contagious between dogs? No.
  • Could my dog have tick fever if I haven’t found ticks on them? YES! It only takes 48 hours or less for the bacteria to transit from the tick to your pet.

So, what’s the next step?

What’s next

Book your consult (33$) with Dr. Seán or his colleagues at VSL:

Visit us at our BKK1 location (St. 334 #33, Corner St. 63). We are open every day: Monday – Saturday (9am – 7pm) and Sunday (9am – 5pm).