Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. Lyme disease is transmitted most commonly by the bite of a deer tick. As most people know, our area has recently become inundated with the disease. We now have more Lyme positive patients than Lyme Connecticut! We strongly recommend vaccinating your pet as well as getting them on a monthly flea and tick preventative to ensure their safety.
- Dogs are 50% more likely to get Lyme disease than humans
- 1 in 7 dogs tested POSITIVE for Lyme Disease in Pennsylvania
- A tick needs to attach itself for only 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease
Lyme disease affects dogs differently and some may show no signs at all. In some cases it takes up to six months.
Lyme Disease Clinical Signs:
- Loss of Appetite
- Shifting Lameness
- Weight loss
- Swollen, painful joints
How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
Pets with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are two blood tests that may be used for confirmation.
How can you prevent Lyme Disease?
The key to prevention is keeping your pet from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short tree. They wait until their sensors detect a close-by animal on which to crawl or drop.
- Keep your pet on a monthly preventative for ticks - Monthly products include: Revolution, Vectra 3D, Nexgard, and Scalibor collar.
- Avoid wooded areas
- Check your pet for ticks after being outside.
Will the Lyme Vaccine Protect my pet?
A vaccine is now available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two- to three-week intervals. Annual revaccination is also necessary to maintain immunity. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective. Some pets will receive the vaccine every two to three years based on the vaccine used, your pet’s lifestyle and individual risk assessment. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have regarding the type and frequency of vaccination with your veterinarian.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
Treatment can be expensive. Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it usually can be controlled by antibiotics.However, a lengthy course of treatment is necessary to completely eradicate the organism. The initial antibiotic selected to treat an infected pet may not be effective against the disease, especially if the infection is long-standing. In this situation, changing to another antibiotic is often effective. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected after being bitten by another infected tick. Additional exams, labwork, and antibiotics may be needed. At CRVC we provide you with a treatment plan with the estimated cost. If left untreated Lyme disease can result in: Heart disease, Kidney disease, and Neurologic disease.