Lyme Disease in Dogs and Cats Preventing and Treating Tick-Borne Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease in Dogs and Cats
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Lyme disease is a serious tick-borne illness that can affect both pets and people. Learn about prevention and treatment for Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is one of the most common ailments to affect North American pets, especially dogs. It is the most frequently found tick-transmitted disease to afflict both pets and humans in North America. The disease is caused by a bacteria that can be transmitted to your pet through a tick.

Where Lyme-Causing Bacteria Comes From

A bacteria, called B. burgdorferi, generally originates in small rodents like mice. Ticks -- most commonly hard shelled deer ticks -- pick B. burgdorferi up from these small animals. Later, if one of these bacteria-carrying ticks finds their way to you or your pet, the bacteria can then be transferred. The bacteria is what causes Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Time Frame

If a tick carrying the bacteria is able to attach itself to your pet for more than 18 hours, your pet might end up with the disease. If, when you discover the tick, it is not yet engorged, thatโ€™s good news! Itโ€™s a sign that the bacteria has not likely been transmitted. If the tick appears to have had its fill, and is engorged, infection with B. burgdorferi is possible.

Symptoms of Lyme can take 2-5 months to appear, after the initial bite. So if you begin to see symptoms, think back a few months. Most experts agree, early detection and early treatment of Lyme disease makes all the difference.

Preventing Lyme Disease

Spot-on monthly tick treatments are an effective way to repel ticks from your pet, but even the best ointments out there donโ€™t offer a 100% guarantee. The affliction of Lyme Disease can be almost entirely avoided by checking your petsโ€™ bodies for ticks after theyโ€™ve spent time outside along with the routine administration of a trusted anti-tick medication such as Frontline for dogs.

Lyme Disease Symptoms in Dogs

The symptoms of Lyme disease can present as a general lack of wellness. If your dog appears depressed, wonโ€™t eat, or resists moving around because they appear to be in pain, you could be dealing with Lyme. Traditionally, antibiotics are used. When symptoms appear, donโ€™t wait to head to the vet.

Can You Get Lyme From Your Dog?

There are no documented cases of Lyme disease being transmitted from one human to another, or from a cat or a dog to a human. However, dogs and cats can carry disease-bearing ticks into the home. Those ticks can give humans Lyme disease. Itโ€™s important to check your pets before bringing them inside after romps outdoors, especially if play time occurred in high infestation areas.

Lyme Disease in Cats

Cats can get Lyme disease, but itโ€™s rare.

Cats are every bit as likely as a human or dog to attract ticks. They may even contract and carry B. burgdorferi, the Lyme-causing bacteria. However, a catโ€™s immune system can tolerate the disease-causing bacteria in a way that human and canine physiologies cannot. They may carry the bacteria forever without actually developing symptoms of Lyme.

From time to time, it does occur. In these cases, as with all cases of Lyme disease, early detection and treatment are essential to long-term health.

All you need to know about Lyme disease

Among all the tick-transmitted diseases, Lyme disease is the most common. Blacklegged ticks are the carriers of this lethal disease. This bacterial infection has varying degree levels and may lead to substantial health problems like kidney failure or even death. It is important that you should keep the dog safe by knowing all the essential facts about this disease. It is good to know the symptoms, treatment, and the time it has an increased chance to strike.

Detection in pets

Lyme disease can strike all over the globe. The name of the disease comes after the village of Lyme in Connecticut, the United States, post the first outbreak in 1975 in the same area. This disease continues to be regular slaughterer in this part of the world. As per CDC. 95 percent of confirmed Lyme cases come from 14 states. New York, Vermont, and Virginia are among the source states. When an infected tick bites the host, Borrelia burgdorferi, the concerned bacteria gets into the tissue causing numerous health complications. The infection enters the blood-stream about 24 hours later. In some cases, it may be 36 hours.It is easy to detect Lyme disease if it occurs in humans. The disease can be easily identified by the red rash on the skin. In dogs, however, detection is a little harder as canines do not suffer from rashes. To compound the problem, a dog could be infected for as much as five months prior to the infection showing itself as symptoms and signs. The list of such visual markers includes lameness, joint swelling, and joint pain, poor appetite, inactivity. Breathing difficulties, arthritis, fever, dehydration, increased touch sensitivity, depression, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, complications in the nervous system and heart abnormalities are also reported. When it comes to joint swelling and pain, the elbows and the knees are the most affected.

Danger time

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and multiple symptoms of this disease appear to resolve by themselves. The symptoms are also common to a number of other diseases. Lyme mostly occurs in the months starting May and ending August. Two months-June and July- are the most vulnerable months. Ideal weather for Lyme disease propagation is higher humidity and warmer temperatures. The danger season may begin much sooner if less rainfall occurs. \If you live in a place where there is a greater incidence of Lyme disease, use the numerous vaccination options and tick-preventative products available via the veterinarian. The vet will first evaluate the age of the dog and its overall health. The canine's lifestyle will also be put under the scanner. The professional will also take into account whether your dog is susceptible to the disease.

More on Keeping Your Pet Safe

How to Remove a Tick
Puppy Vaccinations
What Are Ticks?
Spot On Flea Control: Which Treatment is Right for Your Pet
How to Get Rid of a Tick

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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