Lyme disease is one of the most commonly transmitted tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Oak Grove vets share some information about Lyme disease in pets including what it is, the symptoms you should watch out for and your pet's treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrelia is carried by deer ticks and causes the infectious Lyme disease. This illness is transmitted when ticks feed on an infected animal like a deer, mouse or bird and then bass that infection on to the next animals that it feeds on.
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.
Keep a sharp lookout for more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, sensitivity to touch and fevers.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During this diagnostic appointment, your veterinarians will ask you a number of questions in order to gain an understanding of your pet's medical history. They will then conduct a range of tests like fecal exams, urinalysis, blood panels and X-rays. Your vet may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints and analyze them for signs of 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?
One of the best and surefire ways of preventing and controlling the spread of this disease is by taking steps to avoid ticks as much as possible. There are vaccines, sprays and monthly products available, although many work best before your dog is every exposed to Lyme disease.
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 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.