Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. In today's blog, our Tracy vets explain more about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, signs to watch for, and treatment options.
Lyme Disease in Pets
The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and is the cause of infectious Lyme disease. Ticks become infected with this bacteria when they feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. Infected ticks then pass the bacteria to other animals when they bite them.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Animals
Common symptoms of Lyme disease in our furry friends may include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.
How Vets Diagnose Lyme Disease
Book 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 Lyme disease.
Treatment for Lyme Disease in Pets
Hospitalization is not typically necessary for pets with Lyme disease. In most cases, the condition will be treated with a course of antibiotics lasting four-weeks or longer. Your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your pet especially uncomfortable.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Your Pet
Avoiding ticks whenever possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing all tick borne diseases including Lyme. 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 can bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit the disease.