Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Protecting your Pooch from Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is transmitted from black (deer) ticks infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. For the infectious tick to transfer this disease to a dog it must be attached to their skin for 12 – 24 hours. Tick season occurs during early spring and can last until late fall, when dogs are outside the most enjoying the weather with their families. 

Symptoms of Lyme Disease:
Many times when a dog has been bitten with an infectious tick there is no rash or sign of infection, but a few months later symptoms can occur. Commonly, dogs can develop recurrent lameness due to inflamed joints. This lameness can last a few days and then re-occur in the same or their other legs a few weeks later. Other minor symptoms can include: stiff legs and back, sensitivity to inflamed areas when touched, trouble breathing, fever, inflamed lymph nodes (close to area of bite), loss of appetite and depression. The more serious affects include kidney damage, heart and nervous system diseases.

Treating Lyme Disease:
To fully understand the effects of lyme disease on a particular dog the veterinarian will complete a series of tests to determine if any organs are affected. The veterinarian will also look for tick bites on the dog, and ensure there are no tick fragments still attached to its skin. If the symptoms are minor usually antibiotics will be sufficient to cure lyme disease. If the infection has caused damage to the kidneys or nervous system additional medication and treatments will be required.

Prevention is key:
When tick season occurs ensure you use a product to prevent infection. Treatments can be purchased at your local pet supplies store, make scure to consult your veterinarian as well. Check your dog each time they are outdoors and remove all ticks that you find attached to their body. Ensure your yard is trimmed and well maintained to reduce the number of ticks available to bite your dog. 

Ask your veterinarian for additional information on ticks and lyme disease. Have a safe and happy summer! 

Useful Lime Disease Links:

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