How Taking Your Dog On A Walk Could Kill

Nothing brings joy to a dog like going for a walk, especially in a woodsy area with plenty of new sights and smells. However, it might alarm you to learn that a tiny pest lurking in the world could potentially carry a disease that could harm or even kill your dog. Read on to learn more about this danger, how it spreads, and what you can do if your dog contracts it.


Haemobartonellosis is the name of the frightening disorder in question. This disorder is caused by a type of infectious mycoplasma that gains access to a dog's blood supply. This mycoplasma breaks down red blood cells from the inside, destroying them faster than a dog's body can replace them. As a result, most dogs who contract haemobartonellosis will become anemic, with symptoms like lethargy and a lack of appetite. In some cases, however, it will cause dogs to become so dreadfully anemic that they could die without medical care. Sufficient blood is needed in order to process oxygen and fuel the body's organs, so this disorder is a serious problem for dogs.

How It's Spread

Haemobartonellosis is spread by fleas and ticks, though it's more commonly carried by ticks. The mycoplasma treats the flea or tick as a carrier, generally not harming the pest, and then jumping from the flea or tick into your dog when it's bitten.

Generally speaking, infected dogs can't spread the disorder to each other, even if they share meals together. However, an infected dog can potentially spread it to its puppies if it's pregnant while infected.


Thankfully, haemobartonellosis is easy to treat if it's detected by a veterinarian. If your dog exhibits symptoms of exhaustion, difficulty breathing, a lack of appetite, or a loss of interest in play, get to a veterinarian right away, as your dog might have this disorder. Your veterinarian will perform a blood test to determine if your dog is infected. If so, a simple course of antibiotics will clear the mycoplasma and get your dog back on the road to recovery. If your dog is severely anemic, hospitalization and blood transfusions may be necessary.

Protecting your dog from haemobartonellosis is easy if you maintain a strict anti-flea and tick regimen and avoid overgrown areas for walks that ticks frequent. Talk to your vet if you want to protect your dog from this problem or if you suspect that your dog has it.

For more information, contact local professionals like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital.