Lyme disease is one of the most commonly transmitted tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Des Moines veterinary team shares some important information about Lyme disease, including its symptoms, treatments and what it actually is.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted to your pet when a tick feed on an infected animal (like a deer, bird or mouse) and then bites another animal afterward.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our pet companions, the common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from general malaise and discomfort to a lack of appetite. lameness, depression and severe inflammation of their 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 the appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history, then complete a battery of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays and blood tests. Fluid may also be drawn from your pet's affected joints, then analyzed for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are generally treated on an outpatients basis, this will involve at least four weeks of antibiotics, although your vet may recommend pain medication if the disease is making your pet especially uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Your vet may recommend that your pet get appropriate vaccinations and boosters if your pet lives in an area where Lyme disease is more common. You should remove any ticks you find on your pet as soon as possible too in order to help prevent this disease from spreading. Although our pets aren't able to Kinect us directly, they may bring infected ticks into our homes, giving them a chance to attach to the people and animals that live with them.