Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Capitola vets share some information with you about Lyme disease in your pet including what it is, what symptoms to keep an eye out for and your treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and is the cause of infectious Lyme disease. This is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals like birds, mice, and deer. The infection is then passed on to any other people or animals the tick subsequently bites.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our four-legged friends, common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Keep an eye out for more severe symptoms too like sensitivity to touch, fever and noticeable 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 pet's appointment, your vet will ask a number of different questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history. Then they will conduct an array of testing, including fecal exams, urine analysis and blood testing. If necessary, a vet may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints for analysis for Lyme 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 as well if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should make sure to promptly remove any ticks you find of your dog in order to help prevent Lyme and other diseases from spreading. While dogs won't directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into your home. At this point, they may attach to a person or pet and further transmit Lyme disease.