New study shows link between ticks and kidney disease

Tick encounters are increasingly hard to avoid. These adaptable parasites are responsible for spreading a variety of diseases throughout the United States, and their range is increasing. To protect our pets and ourselves, it’s critical to stay alert to the risks. That means regularly screening pets—whether symptomatic or seemingly healthy—to identify exposure to infected ticks.

A single tick can transmit multiple infectious agents that can lead to higher risk of serious illness. An infection from a tick can lead to health issues, including chronic conditions affecting a variety of body systems (blood, joints, and kidneys). These complications can be hard to diagnose if we don’t understand that a dog has been exposed to an infected tick. Because dogs can’t explain how they feel and may not always show clinical signs, it can be challenging to understand the true harm of any given infection to a patient’s health. This is why it’s so important for all dogs to be screened annually for exposure to ticks, as recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council, an independent group of leading parasitologists.

A new study from IDEXX shows a connection between one of these conditions—chronic kidney disease —and dogs exposed to infected ticks in Lyme- and E. canis-endemic areas. This research shows that dogs infected with Lyme are at a 43% higher risk of developing kidney disease. For dogs exposed to Ehrlichia in E. canis-endemic areas, that number jumps to 300%. This research included both symptomatic and seemingly healthy dogs.

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