Every summer ticks emerge and multiply and with them comes an increased risk of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses not just for humans but also for our beloved pets.
That’s why it’s very important to regularly inspect your pets for signs of the nasty parasite and take the necessary precautions to keep your pets healthy. It’s even more important when you realize many tick-borne diseases can affect people too!
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. It is caused by a bacterium (borrelia burgdorferi) that is commonly transmitted to animal hosts (e.g. your dog) by ticks.
All kinds of ticks carry Lyme disease. Ticks can carry other blood-born diseases such as Rocky mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, canine ehrlichiosis, and babesia canis which are also deadly.
Not all ticks are infected and carry disease. But your dog is at higher risk for getting Lyme disease if he/she lives in an area where there are reported cases in humans, and in recent years the disease is becoming more widespread.
If you do find a tick on your dog, the first step is to remove it immediately. The sooner a tick is removed the lesser the risk of a dog getting infected by Lyme disease, although the risk is never removed completely. Take great care when removing a tick and do it properly as you could infect your dog (and yourself) if you remove it sloppily. Click here to learn how to remove a tick safely from a dog.
Next, you will want to keep a close eye on the tick bite for any symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog. Some of the more common symptoms can include any of the following:
- Swelling and pain in one or more joints (the most dominant symptom)
- Spontaneous and shifting leg lameness that lasts 3 to 4 days (this is when lameness occurs, disappears and then reappears in the same leg or different leg.
- Loss of appetite
- Reluctance to move
Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease may include:
- Stiff walk with an arched back
- Sensitive to touch
- Difficulty breathing
- Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
Later, rarer, symptoms and complications can include:
- Kidney disease
- Heart Disease
- Nervous system disorders (rare)
The key to your dog making a fast recovery if he/she has got Lyme disease is getting him/her on antibiotic treatment as soon as possible!
The best tool to fight Lyme disease is prevention. Using tick control products, tick checks and possible vaccination, you will help prevent your dog from getting sick. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s risk factors before deciding on the best preventative measure! And you can read further information on Lyme disease and dogs here.
Share this important information with your pet-loving family and friends!