Lyme disease is one of the commonly transmitted tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Yucaipa veterinarians share some information about Lyme disease as it appears in our pets, including what it is, its symptoms and your treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called borrella that is carried by deer ticks and is transmitted when a tick feeds on infected animals like a bird, deer or mouse. When the tick next feeds on another creature, they will pass the bacteria to them in kind.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
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 inflamed joints.
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 this appointment, your vet will ask you a number of questions about your pet's behaviors and activities to gain a detailed understanding of their overall health and wellbeing and medical history. They will also conduct a battery of tests including fecal exams, blood tests and urine analyses. They may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints for analysis.
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 thing you can do to control your pet's risk of contracting Lyme disease is the avoid ticks and areas that are high-risk for tick activity. Monthly products, vaccines, and sprays are all available to help prevent ticks from infecting your pet, although they generally work best before you dog is exposed to the bacteria causing 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.