While Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, it can be treated if caught early. Today, our vets in Parrish share the facts about Lyme disease in pets.
What is Lyme disease?
Deer ticks carry the bacteria borella, which causes infectious Lyme disease. The disease is then transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as birds, mice and deer. This infection is then passed on to other animals when they are bitten by the infected tick.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
For our four-legged friends, common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from malaise and general discomfort to lack of appetite, lameness due to inflamed joints or depression.
Other signs you may notice include difficulty breathing, sensitivity to touch or fever.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
If you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease, book an appointment with your vet.
At the appointment, your vet will ask a list of questions to gain insight into your pet's medical history, then complete a battery of tests including a fecal exam, urine analysis, X-Rays and blood tests. The vet may also draw fluid from the joints that have been affected, then analyze it for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are usually treated on an outpatient basis. This will typically involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your dog especially uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.