Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne diseases in the world. Here, our Argyle vets explain more about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, symptoms to watch for, and available treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
Infectious Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called borrella which is carried by deer ticks. The ticks become infected with the bacteria when feeding on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in pets?
In our four-legged friends, the most common symptoms of Lyme disease include general discomfort or malaise and depression to lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed joints.
In some cases fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch can also be related to Lyme disease.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Book an appointment with your vet if you think that your pet could 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 the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
Pets diagnosed with Lyme disease are usually treated with a course of antibiotics lasting four weeks or longer. In most cases hospitalization is not required. If your pet is suffering from very painful joints your vet may also prescribe medication to help ease your animal's pain.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Staying away from areas where ticks are known to hide 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 veterinarian 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 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.