Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that travels through the blood and can affect joints, organs, or give an overall feeling of illness. Ticks, particularly deer ticks, are carriers of Lyme Disease.
The tick needs to be attached to your pet for 24 to 48 hours before the disease can be transferred. Adult ticks are not killed off by frost and will often just lie dormant for a warmer day. Therefore, ticks present a health concern year round.
Symptoms for Lyme Disease include but are not limited to:
- Loss of Appetite
- Lameness—which can be intermittent, reoccurring, or shifting from joint to joint
- Stiffness, Discomfort, and Pain
- Swelling of Joints
There are two different blood tests that can be used to check for Lyme Disease. There is an in-house blood test available with results in ten minutes. There are more in-depth blood panels that can be sent out if Lyme Disease or other tick-borne diseases are suspected.
If discovered early, Lyme Disease can be treated with a short dose of antibiotics. More difficult cases, which have affected the organs, may require more extensive treatments. Lyme Disease may also lay dormant for a while and occasionally reoccur and need another course of antibiotics.
There are simple ways you can help prevent Lyme Disease in your pet:
- Year round flea and tick prevention is available through your veterinarian, online or local participating retailer. It is best to administer your pet’s flea and tick prevention year round since adult ticks are active almost all year.
- Check your pet after playing outside and immediately remove any ticks found.
- Avoid letting your pets play in higher grasses and thickly wooded areas.
- You can do treatments for your own yard to protect against ticks.
- Yearly blood tests are recommended to catch any possible positive results that are asymptomatic.
- Lyme Disease vaccines are available through your veterinarian as well. They can be started at any age. An initial injection is followed up with a booster two weeks later with a yearly vaccine recommended.