Today, our Edgewater vets share information about Lyme disease, which is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. They explain what Lyme disease is, what the symptoms are in pets, and the treatment options available.
What is Lyme disease?
Deer ticks carry borrella bacteria which causes the infectious Lyme disease. This bacteria is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as birds, deer and mice, which is then passed on to other animals (or people) when the infected tick bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I look for in my pet?
In pets, common Lyme disease symptoms can include general discomfort, malaise, depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
You also have to look for any signs or fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Book an appointment with your veterinarian if you think your pet might have Lyme disease.
At this appointment, your vet is going to ask a handful of questions to get a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history, then perform a range of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays and blood tests. They might also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints, then analyze it for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, they are generally treated on an outpatient basis. This usually involves at least a four-week course of antibiotics, however, your vet might also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your cat or dog very uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as best as you can will go a long way in controlling and preventing the disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, however, many work best before your pet is exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Your veterinarian might recommend appropriate booster shots and vaccines if you reside in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should also promptly remove any ticks you find on your pet to help prevent Lyme disease and other illnesses from spreading. Dogs and cats can't directly infect people, but they can track infected ticks into the house, which could then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.