Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in North America. In this post, our Berkeley vets share information about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, symptoms to watch for, and treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by many varieties of ticks and can cause Lyme disease. This is transmitted when infected animals are fed on by ticks. The parasites then pass on that infection to other animals when they bite them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our four-legged friends, common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite and lameness due to inflamed 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 your appointment, your vet will ask questions to help them understand your pet's condition and their medical history. They will then complete tests on your pet including x-rays, blood tests, urine analyses, fecal exams and more. 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?
Pets are usually treated on an outpatient basis when they are diagnosed with Lyme disease. This will usually involve a month-long course of antibiotics as well as pain medication if the disease has caused your pet particular discomfort.
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 boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common/ You should try to remove any ticks from your dog as quickly as possible to help prevent the spread of Lyme disease. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.