Your veterinarian probably encourages you to follow a flea and tick prevention regimen for your dog, and may also recommend testing for Lyme disease. But what is Lyme disease, how can you prevent it, and what do you expect if your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease? VetMeasure is here to help you decode this disease and provide additional resources.
Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease (affecting both animals and humans) caused by a bacterium. It is transmitted through deer tick bites. These ticks are typically found near bodies of water in grassy or wooded habitats. However, through spending any time outdoors, even in your own backyard, you and your dog are susceptible to being bitten.
As this is a vector-borne disease transmitted by ticks, the first line of defense is to ensure your dog is on a trusted tick-preventative product. While there are many currently available, your veterinarian can recommend the best product for your pet. Additionally, a Lyme disease vaccine is available and may be appropriate for your dog depending on where you live and your lifestyle. Finally, it is important to check your pets for ticks regularly and to properly remove any that you find.
Infected pets may not show signs for several months; but, signs to be aware of include: fever, limping, lack of energy, and loss of appetite. As these signs may be present in a variety of diseases and conditions, your veterinarian will perform a blood test to determine if your pet has been exposed. Antibiotics are typically prescribed as the treatment for Lyme disease.
More information on Lyme disease can be found on the AVMA website, HERE.
The CDC maintains an updated map of Lyme disease prevalence which can be found HERE.