Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases found in the world. Here, our Douglasville veterinary team shares some helpful information about Lyme diseases in pets, including what it is, what to look out for, and your companion's treatment options if they contract it.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrelia is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds, and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our furry companions, the common symptoms of Lyme disease may range from general discomfort to malaise, depression, lameness caused by joint inflammation, and a lack of appetite.
Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing, or sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Contact your veterinarians to schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you think 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 urinalysis, 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.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are generally treated on an outpatient basis. This generally involves at least a month of antibiotics, although your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your pet particularly 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 most work better before your pet is 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.