April is Prevention of Lyme Disease Month in dogs. This month, in particular, focuses on Lyme disease prevention, but focusing on and aiding in parasite prevention is pertinent all year round. Lyme disease occurs when the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi transfers into the body through the bite of a deer tick. There are various ways to both treat and prevent Lyme disease, which we’ll discuss today. Read on to learn more information.
Where Can Deer Ticks Be Found?
Deer ticks find a home in various places, including forests or grassy, wooded, and marshy areas near oceans, lakes, and rivers. You can even find them in your backyard. In 1975, the disease got its name because numerous cases were happening in Lyme, Connecticut. Now, fast forward to 45 years later in 2020, and reports of Lyme disease affect pets and people all over the United States and the world. Within the U.S., Lyme Disease undeniably impacts Maryland, along with many other East Coast States. The CDC provides data that details where this disease is the most prevalent in the United States. Click here to see the data.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
Often, pets do not show symptoms for 2-5 months. After that time, if your dog indeed has the condition, he or she may show these symptoms:
- Loss of Appetite
- Decrease in Activity
- Swelled Joints
Lyme Disease and Anaplasmosis (caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilumare) can appear similar. Dogs experience similar symptoms, and Anaplasmosis nearly impacts the same areas of the United States. However, our veterinarians can run a blood test that can detect which bacterium is in a dog’s body.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease if caught early, is treated with an antibiotic. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can attack the kidneys and require more intense treatment with hospitalization, IV fluid therapy, and medications to help the kidneys, manage blood pressure, and reduce the loss of protein through the urine. Early intervention is better, prevention is best.
Prevention for Lyme Disease
- Bravecto– Bravecto is our #1 recommended and FDA-approved product! We administer it orally through a chewable tablet for dogs and it lasts for 12 weeks!
- Lyme Vaccine
- Regular Testing
What Else You Can Do to Aid in Parasite Prevention
Besides regularly visiting our experienced veterinarians, there is a lot a pet owner can do to keep their canine companion healthy. For one, lawn maintenance is vital. Deer ticks love to hide out in tall grass and weeds. Also, securing your trashcans ensure that rodents can’t find their way inside them. Rodents often carry deer ticks. You should also check your pet’s fur each day for ticks. Feel for bumps and part their fur so that their skin is visible. Focus on areas under their legs, around their necks, and inside of their ears. If you think that your dog does have Lyme disease, you’ll leave them in good hands if you bring your pet in to us.