Lyme disease is an incredibly common tick-transmitted disease. Here, our Scottsdale vets will walk you through information about Lyme disease in your pet including what it is, its symptoms, and your options for treatment.
What is Lyme disease?
Ticks, especially deer ticks, carry the bacteria borrella, which is the cause of Lyme disease. It is transmitted when a tick feeds on an infected animal such as a mouse or bird and then pass that infection on to next animals they bite.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our furry companions, Lyme disease's common symptoms can include malaise, general discomfort, lack of appetite, depression, or lameness caused by inflamed joints.
Symptoms may also include difficulty breathing, a fever and sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
If you suspect your pet has Lyme disease, book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
During this appointment, your vet will gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history and then conduct a series of tests. These will include fecal exams, blood tests, x-rays and urine analysis. Your vet may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints for analysis.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, they are usually treated as outpatients. Most often, this will involve a month-long course of antibiotics, Your vet might also prescribe pain medication if your pet is especially uncomfortable or in pain.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks. Preventative products like vaccines, monthly products, and sprays. Most of them work best when they are used before your dog is ever exposed to the bacteria which causes Lyme disease.
Your vet may also advise administration of booster vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent. If you find any ticks on your dog, you should remove them as soon as possible to help prevent Lyme disease's spread. While dogs cannot infect people directly, if they bring infected ticks into the house those parasites will infect any people or animals they next bite.