Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Here, our South Lebanon veterinary team shares some information about Lyme disease in pets, including what it is, what to watch out for and your pet's treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria called borrella, most often carried by deer, mice or birds, is the cause of the infectious Lyme disease. This illness is transmitted when a tick feeds on infected animals and then passes the disease onto another creature when it bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our four-legged friends, the common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from a general discomfort or malaise to depression, a lack of appetite and lameness caused by inflammation of your pet's joints.
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 your pet's appointment, your veterinarian will ask a number of questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history and then conduct a range of tests. These include urinanalysis, fecal exams x-rays, blood tests and drawing fluid from any affected joints.
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?
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.
Your vet may recommend appropriate vaccines and boosters if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should remove any ticks you find on your dog as soon as possible to help to prevent Lyme or any other tick-borne diseases from spreading. Although dogs aren't able to directly infect people, they may bring ticks into your house, giving them an opportunity to attach to another animals or person and then transmit Lyme disease.