What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our pet companions, common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from malaise, to general discomfort, depression, lameness and a lack of appetite.
Also keep an eye out for a fever, sensitivity to touch and difficulty breathing.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During your appointment, your vet will ask a number of different questions to gain an understanding of your pet's medical history as well as conduct tests. These tests can include x-rays, fecal exams, blood tests and urinalysis. Fluid may also be drawn from your pet's affected joints, then analyzed 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 vaccines and the appropriate boosters if you live in an area where ticks are commonly found as well. You should be diligent in quickly removing any ticks you do find on your pet in order to prevent Lyme or other disease from spreading. Although pets can't directly infect people, they can bring infected ticks into your home. And those parasites may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.