Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our New Ulm vets share some information about Lyme disease in pets, including what it is, what symptoms to keep an eye out for and what your pet's treatment options are.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, is carried by deer ticks and causes the infectious Lyme disease. It is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals like birds, deer and mice. This infection is then passed to other animal when an 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 “shifting leg” 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 veterinarian if you suspect that your pet may have contracted Lyme disease.
At this appointment, your vet will ask several questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your companion’s medical history and then conduct a variety of tests ranging from a Heartworm/Tick test (4DX), bloodwork, urinalysis and possibly x-rays.
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?
One of the best ways of controlling and preventing the spread of Lyme disease is to avoid ticks as much as possible. Vaccines and oral tick prevention products are available for your pet which work best before your pet is exposed to bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Your vet may recommend Lyme vaccine and boosters if you live in or travel to areas where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your pet in order to prevent Lyme and other disease from spreading. Although our pets cannot directly infect us, they may bring infected ticks into our homes which themselves may attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.