Lyme disease is a common tick-transmitted disease that affects the majority of US states. In this post, our Portland vets share information about Lyme disease in pets, including how to prevent your pet from catching it.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrelia is carried by deer ticks (also known as black-legged ticks) and causes infectious Lyme disease. Ticks acquire the disease when they feed on infected animals such as deer, birds, and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals, such as dogs and humans, when the infected tick bites them.
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. Your pet may also display a fever, difficulty breathing, and sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During the appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history, then complete a range of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, X-rays, and blood tests. 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?
When it comes to avoiding Lyme disease, prevention is the best protection. Talk to your vet about the appropriate tick preventive for your pet. Sprays, tick collars, and monthly medications are available.
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 from 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.