Pets and Lyme Disease: The Basics

By May 11, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

cat-71494_1280You have probably heard of it in humans, but may not realize it happens to pets, too. That is unfortunate, because Lyme Disease is one of the most common illnesses for pets—particularly dogs—and it’s transmitted by ticks. Why don’t you know more about it? Hopefully, it’s because you take the necessary precautions and see your vet frequently enough to avoid it. However, the fact is that it’s a real problem and it’s easy to miss because many pets don’t show symptoms.

This disease is caused by bacteria (borrelia burgdorferi) that deer ticks spread. Typically, the infection happens when a tick is allowed to feed for a few days; that’s when the bacteria is transferred. This leads to infections, the signs of which may not be obvious. Symptoms usually include:

Joint Inflammation

Lameness and Stiffness

Breathing Problems

Appetite Loss

Lethargy

Kidney Problems or Failure (Severe Cases)

Heart Disease (Rare)

If left untreated, things can turn deadly for your pet. First, it has to be diagnosed. To do this, your vet will have to thoroughly examine the animal. Search for ticks and signs that they’ve been feeding. If symptoms have appeared, the vet will have to go over your pet’s history, including when and where ticks might have been present. There will likely be blood tests, urinalyses, fecal tests, possibly X-rays, and more.

Because joint problems are the most common symptoms, your vet will need to make sure that it’s not arthritis, rather than Lyme Disease. Treatment includes antibiotics, or stronger treatments if your pet has a more severe case. Lyme Disease can be tough to cure, so it’s important to remain aware of the possibility, particularly if you have an outdoor dog.

Pets and Lyme Disease is a serious concern. Come to us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help you prevent this all-too-common problem.