Lyme disease is a serious disease that is transmitted to your dog or cat through an infected tick. Today, our Grass Valley vets offer advice on how to prevent Lyme disease and what treatment options are available if your pet does become infected.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the borrelia bacteria that is carried by deer ticks. It is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals, such as deer, birds, and mice. The infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
Lyme disease can be difficult to spot because the symptoms are vague and could be caused by a number of different disorders or conditions. Most commonly, pets that are infected with Lyme disease will display general discomfort, malaise, lack of appetite, and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Lyme disease may also cause a fever, difficulty breathing, or a sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
If you suspect your pet might have Lyme disease, make an appointment with your vet right away.
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 variety of tests including a urinalysis, a 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?
The typical treatment for Lyme disease is a minimum four-week course of antibiotics. Your vet may also prescribe pain medication for your pet if the disease has made them especially uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to regularly check your pet for ticks after they have been outdoors, particularly if they have been in areas with long grass or a lot of brush. There are also sprays and other preventive measures available that will protect your pet should they be exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, your vet may recommend vaccinating your pet against the disease.
Although your pet cannot transmit Lyme disease to humans, they can bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.