Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne diseases in the world. In Grand Prairie Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick. Today our vets explain the causes, symptoms and treatments for Lyme disease in pets.
The bacteria borrella is carried by blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) and causes infectious Lyme disease. Ticks become infected with the bacteria when they feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
In our four-legged friends, the most common symptoms of Lyme disease include general discomfort or malaise, depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch can also be signs of Lyme disease in pets.
How Vets Diagnose Lyme in Pets
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you think that your pet could have Lyme disease.
During the appointment, your veterinarian 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.
How Lyme Disease in Pets is Treated
Following a diagnosis of Lyme disease, pets are typically treated on an outpatient basis. This will usually 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.
Preventing Lyme Disease
Avoiding tick habitat as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease (ticks are generally found in tall grass, shrubs, brush, farmland, wooded areas). Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause 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 from 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.