Here at Carver Lake Veterinary Center, Lyme Disease is an infection we see and treat throughout the year. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is carried within the digestive system of the deer tick.
Although not all deer ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, we cannot be sure which are carriers and which are not.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease may come and go which can make it a difficult disease to diagnose. As a result, it is important for owners to be proactive and knowledgeable about Lyme Disease and its prevention.
Symptoms to consider in our pets include joint pain, pain switching from one joint to another, fever, lethargy, depression, lack of appetite, and vomiting. Dogs and humans can have similar symptoms of Lyme Disease EXCEPT that we do not see the same target shaped rash effect on dogs as we do in humans.
In addition to these symptoms, cats may also show eye damage and unusual breathing. These are all symptoms that can be seen in other conditions so it is extremely important to contact your veterinarian if you see any of the above.
There are numerous steps pet owners can take to prevent Lyme Disease. There is a canine vaccine specifically for Lyme Disease that is usually given annually by a veterinarian. Making sure your dog is vaccinated it one of the best defenses against this disease.
In addition, there are products available for pets that protect against ticks as well as fleas. Two of the products we carry at Carver Lake Veterinary Center are Frontline Topspot and Canine Advantix.
Both preventatives are topicals that owners are able to apply once per month throughout the spring, summer, and fall. It is important to talk with your veterinarian about which product is best for your pet.
Another precaution to take is going through your pet’s coat and feeling for any little bumps – which may indicate a tick has “hitched a ride” on your pet. An attached tick may vary in size from a pinhead to a grape.
To remove an attached tick owners can take a tweezer and grasp the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible and slowly pull it away. Carver Lake will be happy to help you identify and remove any ticks you find, or show you how to do so at home.
Other ways to help keep your pets safe is to keep your lawn mowed and avoid bringing your pets into areas of tall grass. Education is the best defense – if you have any questions we encourage you to discuss them with your veterinarian.
Lyme disease is prevalent throughout the United States, and especially in the Midwest. Knowing the symptoms of Lyme Disease and the precautions we can take will help keep our pets safe and protected all year long.