Lyme disease is one of the most commonly transmitted diseases carried by ticks in the world. Here, our Egg Harbor Township vets explain what you need to know about Lyme disease, including what it is, what its symptoms are and what treatment options your pet has.
What is Lyme disease?
Black-legged ticks can carry the bacteria borrella, which causes Lyme disease. The bacteria are transmitted when a tick feeds on an infected animal like a mouse or deer and then passes that infection on to subsequent animals they bite.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our four-legged friends, the common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from general discomfort and malaise to a lack of appetite, lameness from inflammation and depression.
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.
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 battery 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 your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, they are generally treated on an outpatient basis. This usually involves at least four weeks of antibiotics and potentially a course of pain medication if your pet is being made especially uncomfortable by their inflamed joints.
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.
Our vets may also recommend vaccinations and any appropriate booster shots if you live in an area where Lyme disease is particularly common. If you find any ticks on your pet, make sure you remove them as soon as possible to help prevent Lyme and other diseases from spreading.
While you pet won't be able to directly infect you, they may bring infected ticks into your home which will then attach to you or another person or animal.