Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne diseases in the world. Today, our Franklin vets share information about Lyme disease in pets including what it is, symptoms to watch for, and the treatment options available.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease. This bacteria is transmitted to the tick when it feeds on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. Once a tick is infected it then passes the infection along to other animals when it bites them.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
In our four-legged friends, common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to painful inflamed joints.
In some cases, pets may also experience 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.
Can I prevent my pet from contracting Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing Lyme. Sprays, prevention products that are used monthly 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 may bring infected ticks into the house, which could then attach to a person or another animal and transmit Lyme disease.