While your pet may be excited for the warmer weather, this also means they are at an increased risk of coming into contact with ticks. Unfortunately, this means that they may also be exposed to Lyme disease.
How can my dog get Lyme?
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease, meaning it is transmitted through the bite of an infected arthropod (mosquito, tick, etc.). When an infected tick bites your dog, the infection spreads to your dog’s tissues.
Lyme disease has been found all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica. In the U.S., it is most common in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard, and the Pacific coastal states.
How will I know if my dog has Lyme disease?
The signs of Lyme in dogs may not appear until several months after the initial tick bite and, even then, can be difficult to detect and diagnose. Sometimes the signs are fleeting and will often mimic other health conditions. Lyme disease in dogs can vary from mild to severe, but the severe cases can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, nervous system complications, and even death.
Watch your dog for:
- Recurrent lameness
- Loss of appetite
- Reluctance to move
- Increased urination and thirst
- Difficulty breathing
How is Lyme treated?
Because Lyme is a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed, usually for a period of about four weeks. In some cases, antibiotic treatment won’t always completely eliminate the bacteria, and symptoms could return.
How can I prevent my dog from getting Lyme?
Like with many medical conditions, prevention is key. Your dog should be on a regular flea/tick preventive. There is also a Lyme vaccine available.
Avoid environments where ticks thrive, including tall grassy areas. Regularly check your dog for ticks, and, if you find one, remove it by hand.
April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. Please contact us if you have any questions about helping to prevent ticks in your furry friend.
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