Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne diseases in the world. Here, our Tracy veterinarians explain more about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, symptoms to watch for, and available treatment options.
What is Lyme disease in pets?
The bacteria borrella can be carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease. The bacteria, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice, is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What signs of Lyme disease?
Common symptoms of Lyme disease in our furry friends can include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Also beware of any symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.
How will my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Book an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect your animal may have Lyme disease.
During the appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions regarding 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.
What happens if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?
If your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, they will likely be treated on an outpatient basis. Their treatment 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 pet's joints especially uncomfortable.
Can I prevent Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing Lyme disease. Sprays, monthly medications 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 people and other pets in your household leading to the spread of Lyme disease.