Lyme disease is among the most common tick-born diseases in the world (and is the most common in New Jersey). Here, our Plainfield Animal Hospital vets share some information with you about Lyme in pets, including: what it is, its symptoms and your treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by blacklegged tick and causes the infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when a tick feeds on an infected animal like a deer, mouse or bird. The tick then passes this infection along to your pet when they bite them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our four-legged companions, the common symptoms of Lyme disease can range from a general discomfort or malaise to depression, lameness caused by inflammation and a lack of appetite.
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 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?
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?
The best way to control and prevent Lyme disease is by avoiding ticks as much as possible. Monthly products, sprays and vaccines are all available to protect your pet. Although, these treatments work best on pets who have not yet been exposed to the bacteria which causes Lyme disease.
Your vet may also recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme is very 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.