Lyme disease is one of the most commonly transmitted tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Wisconsin Dells veterinarians share some information with our clients about Lyme disease in pets including it symptoms and your treatment options.
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 four-legged friends, the common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from malaise and general discomfort to a lack of appetite, lameness from inflammation in the joints and depression.
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 your appointment, a veterinarian will ask you a number of questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history and then complete a battery of tests including urine analysis, fecal exams, X-rays and blood testing Fluid may also be drawn from your pet's affected joints and then analyzed for any signs of 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?
One of the best ways of preventing and controlling the spread of Lyme disease is avoiding ticks and areas where ticks may thrive as much as possible. Sprays, monthly products 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 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.