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LYME DISEASE 101

Lyme disease is an easily preventable tick-transmitted disease. The effects from Lyme disease can be painful and no fun for your pup. Not to mention you as well can contract Lyme disease from a tick.

Symptoms

  • Lameness due to inflammation of the joints, many only have acute lameness that lasts only three to four days but reoccurs days to weeks later, in the same leg or in other legs
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Damage to the kidney
  • Heart or nervous system disease

Prevention

Young dogs appear to be more susceptible to Lyme disease than adult dogs. Ticks can be found anywhere, but are most commonly seen in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific coastal states.

If your dog gets diagnosed with Lyme disease he will probably get put on antibiotics, which take about four weeks to work. Unfortunately, there may be some long term joint pain even after the bacteria is cleared out. There are things you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to your pup.

  • Don’t let your dog roam in tick-infested environments.

    Courtesy of michigananimalhospital.com

    Courtesy of michigananimalhospital.com

  • Groom your dog daily and remove ticks immediately if found. Pull ticks straight out when removing, don’t twist or crush the tick. Wash your hands as soon as you remove the tick to limit exposure to yourself.
  • A veterinarian can recommend a variety of sprays, collars and topical products to kill and repel ticks.
  • There are routine vaccines that should be given to dogs.

Quick Facts

The topic of Lyme disease can become a little controversial between veterinarians. Not all dogs that are positive for Lyme disease are clinically ill, so it’s hard for vets to decide whether or not to treat them. The United States does have a better track record with Lyme disease than other places. According to Dr. Erika de Papp, DVM, DACVIM, in New England 50-75 percent of dogs test positive for Lyme disease.

For Lyme disease to be contracted the tick must be attached for at least 48 hours, this is why it is so important to remove the tick as soon as you find it. Adult ticks are active whenever the weather approaches or exceeds freezing. So, if there are several warm winter days in a row ticks could be active, don’t consider it safe just because it’s winter.

Lyme disease is scary and may even cause permanent damage to your pup. Both you and your dog need to always check for ticks. Keep your pooches protected and make sure you’re always on the lookout for ticks!

Photo Courtesy of animalgeneral.com

 

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