Lyme disease is a severe illness that can affect both humans and dogs. If you’re a dog owner, protecting your furry friend from this tick-borne disease is essential if your dog is at risk. Learn about the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, how to prevent tick bites, and what to do if your dog is diagnosed with the disease.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted to humans, dogs, and other animals by Deer Ticks.
When a Deer Tick bites a person or an animal, the bacterium gets transmitted into the victim’s bloodstream. Dogs, horses, and sometimes cattle are the most affected domesticated animals to suffer from Lyme Disease.
You will most commonly find ticks outdoors in leaf litter, shrubs, or bushes. Ticks also exist in non-wooded areas. You can also find them in tall grasses. Ticks attach and cling on to passing animals.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint swelling
- Loss of appetite
The above symptoms typically occur at the chronic disease stage and as early as 2-5 months after infections, although signs can develop much later.
If Lyme disease is left untreated, symptoms can lead to kidney failure and even be fatal in severe cases. Serious neurological impacts and cardiac effects may also occur due to untreated Lyme disease.
How to Remove Ticks from Pets
There are many old myths about how to remove ticks. Some people thought you could remove a tick by exposing it to heat. Another is dousing the tick with peppermint oil. Others believed that you had to twist the tick to get it out. These are neither safe nor effective methods.
For the safest method, watch the video from PetMD: How to Remove a Tick from a Dog.
Use Tick Prevention Products.
One of the most effective ways to prevent Lyme disease in dogs is to use tick prevention products. These can include topical treatments, collars, and oral medications. Consult with Dr. Lowenstein about the best product for your dog based on age, weight, and overall health. It’s essential to use these products consistently and according to the instructions to ensure maximum effectiveness. Additionally, regularly check your dog for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas.
Check Your Dog for Ticks Regularly.
Checking your dog for ticks regularly is important in preventing Lyme disease. Check your dog’s entire body, including its ears, between its toes, and under its collar.
Keep Your Yard and Outdoor Areas Clean and Tidy.
Keeping your yard and outdoor areas clean and tidy is an important step in preventing Lyme disease in your dog. Ticks thrive in tall grass, leaf litter, and other places where they can hide and wait for a host to pass by. By keeping your yard well-maintained and free of debris, you can reduce the number of ticks in your dog’s environment. Be sure to remove any standing water, which can also attract mosquitoes and transmit diseases to your dog. Consider using natural tick repellents, such as cedar or neem oil, to protect your dog from ticks.
Avoid Areas with High Tick Populations.
One of the best ways to prevent Lyme disease in your dog is to avoid areas with high tick populations. These places include wooded areas, tall grasses, and areas with much leaf litter. If you need to take your dog into these areas, use tick prevention methods such as tick collars or topical treatments. Additionally, check your dog for ticks after spending time in these areas and remove any ticks promptly to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
What About Cats?
If you are wondering about cats and Lyme Disease, according to PetMD, there are no known cases of cats contracting Lyme Disease outside of laboratory settings. However, cats can get other tick-borne diseases. So, precautionary measures must also be taken to protect cats from ticks.
Watch for Symptoms of Lyme Disease and Seek Veterinary Care If Necessary.
Even with preventative measures, it’s still possible for your dog to contract Lyme disease. Watch for symptoms such as fever, lethargy, joint pain, and loss of appetite. If you suspect your dog may have Lyme disease, contact us immediately. Early treatment can help prevent more serious complications and improve your dog’s chances of a full recovery.
Your Friendly Team
Braescroft Animal Clinic