Lyme Disease.... Is Your Dog at Risk?

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Been Infected?

The bite of a tiny tick, no larger than the head of a pin, can transmit Lyme Disease to humans and animals. Dogs living in our area or traveling to other high-incidence areas could be at risk. Studies have shown that dogs are more likely to contract Lyme Disease than are humans, by a margin of two to one.

The disease in humans follows three predictable stages, thus aiding early diagnosis. In animals, diagnosis is more difficult because disease stages and early symptoms are not as distinct. For example, a rash is common in humans but rare in dogs. Early-stage blood testing is often unreliable as well, resulting in either false negatives or false positives. Within weeks of disease transmittal, your dog will show flu or arthritis-like symptoms ..fever, loss of appetite and/or sudden lameness or joint pain. If untreated, Lyme Disease can lead to severe joint problems or kidney and heart damage.

What About Treatment & Prevention?

Antibiotics are very effective in treating Lyme Disease. When detected and treated very early on, animals respond well within 24 hours of initial treatment. Unfortunately, given the unreliability of early-stage blood testing, the blood may have to be re-tested in a few months before a diagnosis is conclusive. Prior to the introduction of a revolutionary new medication, the only methods of Lyme Disease prevention were to avoid tick-infested areas; using effective tick prevention; or, if a bite occurred, immediate removal of the tick. Owners of untreated dogs still need to follow those prevention measures.

Better Safe Than Sorry!

Advancements in veterinary medicine have resulted in the development of an effective medication to protect against Lyme Disease. In a high-incidence area such as ours, we recommend that all outdoor dogs take this monthly pill. We care about our patients and clients and would rather prevent Lyme Disease than have to put you and your dog through the inconvenience and expense of diagnosis and treatment, not to mention the pain and dangers of infection.

If your dog is not currently taking preventative medication, we urge you to call our office to discuss this issue. If you notice any of the Lyme Disease symptoms, or if you are concerned that your dog has been infected, please notify our office immediately.