Lyme disease is one of the most common diseases spread by ticks around the world. Our Grayson veterinarians discuss Lyme disease in pets in this post, including what it is, symptoms to look for, and treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
Deer ticks carry the bacteria Borrelia, which causes infectious Lyme disease, which is spread when ticks feed on infected animals like deer, birds, and mice. When an infected tick bites another animal, the infection is passed on to 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.
Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing, or 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.
Your veterinarian will ask a series of questions to gain a thorough understanding of your pet's medical history, then perform a battery of tests, including urinalysis, fecal exam, x-rays, and blood tests, during the appointment. Fluid from your pet's affected joints can also be drawn and analyzed for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When pets are diagnosed with Lyme disease, they are typically treated as outpatients. This usually entails a four-week course of antibiotics, though your veterinarian may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has caused your dog significant discomfort.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Keeping ticks at bay as much as possible will help control and prevent disease. Sprays, monthly products, and vaccines are available, but many of them work best when dogs are not exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, your veterinarian may recommend boosters and vaccines. To help prevent the spread of Lyme and other diseases, you should remove any ticks you find on your dog as soon as possible. Though dogs do not directly infect humans, they can bring infected ticks into the house, which can then attach to another person or animal and spread Lyme disease.