Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases. In this post, our Albany vets share insights about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, which signs to watch for, and treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
Deer ticks carry the bacteria borrella, which causes infectious Lyme disease. Ticks that feed on infected animals such as mice, deer and birds then transmit the disease to other animals via bites.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
Our four-legged friends can display symptoms of Lyme disease ranging from general malaise or discomfort to depression, lameness due to inflamed joints and lack of appetite.
Also watch for any difficulty breathing, sensitivity to touch or fever.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
If you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease, book an appointment with your vet.
At your appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions to get a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history before completing a battery of tests including a fecal exam, x-rays, blood tests and urine analysis. The vet may also draw fluid from your pet's infected joints to analyze for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
Pets that are diagnosed with Lyme disease are typically treated on an outpatient basis. This will usually involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has caused your dog to experience symptoms that are especially uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
To control and prevent Lyme disease, avoid ticks as much as possible. Monthly products, vaccines and sprays are available, though many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines. Make sure to promptly remove any ticks you discover on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases from spreading. Though dogs cannot directly infect people, our pets can bring infected ticks into the house, where they may then attach to another animal or person and transmit Lyme disease.