A tick-borne disease that was rare but has slowly and gradually grown to become a common disease amongst dogs is Lyme disease. Lyme disease was first diagnosed in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut (U.S.A.) and was named after “Old Lyme.” And since then the cases of Lyme disease has only seen a rise in numbers.
Below given graph shows the rise in a number of cases of Lyme disease from 2013 to 2019 and why you need to up your game as far as fight with this disease is concerned.
Though there is a huge difference between the total number of tested dogs and the number of positive cases, you can’t ignore the increase in the number of dogs tested positive.
Lyme disease cases are more likely to be found in the territories where the tick vectors live, and unfortunately, these vectors are expanding their region day by day.
- Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine
- Northcentral states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- West Coast, particularly northern California
Lyme Disease Prevention Month
These figures are disturbing and alarming and if concrete steps are not taken Lyme disease can trouble you and your dog. Hence, to spread the awareness about this tick-borne disease, May is celebrated as Lyme disease Prevention month.
During this month activists all around the country organize walks, 5K runs, shows of the Lyme documentary-Under Our Skin, and other events to help educate the people and raise funds for research. You also can join them to make our country free from Lyme disease, but before doing that, you need to have proper knowledge of this vector-borne disease.
Therefore, BudgetPetWorld, to contribute to the movement, has come up with this blog to educate pet parents about this dangerous disease.
Read on to know more about the disease and how to prevent it.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease that infects your pet when an infected tick bites your pet to feed on the blood and in return, it transmits the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi – a tick-borne zoonotic pathogen carried by ticks especially hard-shelled black-legged tick or deer tick.
And after the bacteria enter your pet’s body it can take 2-4 months for the symptoms to occur.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease leads to some serious health issues and moreover, the symptoms are very common and similar to other disease’s symptoms which can be misleading. Hence, you should remember each symptom of Lyme disease to make diagnosis easier. Below are the symptoms that you should check for.
- Reduced energy
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of joints
- Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
- Stiffness/ discomfort/ pain
Kidney failure, serious cardiac and neurological disorders in your pet are some of the repercussions that you might have to face if these symptoms are ignored.
Black-Legged Ticks/Deer Ticks, Borrelia Burgdorferi, And Lyme Disease
These parasites thrive in tall bushy areas, waiting on the leaves and questing- waiting to find their perfect host. When your dog passes by these ticks, they sense him/her by the body heat and land on your dog’s skin to feed on the blood of your pooch.
Once they get on to your dog they insert their pointed-mouth parts in his/her skin and start feasting on the blood. And while feeding, these ticks transfer Borrelia Burgdorferi into your pet’s blood.
Borrelia Burgdorferi is a bacterial species from the spirochete class of the genus Borrelia. They attack the dog’s lymph nodes, joint capsules, and muscles and intake 2-4 months for cause clinical signs.
How To Diagnose Lyme Disease?
Your vet may perform majorly three types of tests –
Blood Tests to examine the presence of particular antibodies that are generated by your pet’s body as a defense against the Bacterial infection. In the initial stages of Lyme disease, the antibody levels are low hence there are chances of negative test results.
Urine Protein Test is a confirmation test that determines the presence of the infection by checking the protein levels in the urine
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a DNA test, which confirms the presence of the bacteria. Chances of negative results are still there because the bacteria can be present in joints or a particular area. As a result, the so-called pathogens can’t be found in the blood samples.
How To Treat Lyme Disease?
Doxycycline/amoxicillin/erythromycin -the antibiotics that might be prescribed by your vet to treat Lyme disease. For symptoms like severe pain and discomfort NSAIDs like (carprofen) may also be given by your vet.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease?
Administering monthly flea and tick treatments to ensure that ticks don’t thrive on your pet’s body is very important. Some of the examples of such treatments and preventives are SERESTO FLEA AND TICK COLLAR- that treats and prevents ticks for 4 months and fleas for 8 months, BRAVECTO- a 3- monthly flea and tick oral treatment, and FRONTLINE PLUS.
To avoid the disease you need to avoid tick infestation and for that conducting regular health checkups, and regular patrolling for the presence of ticks on your pet’s body while playing or having a cuddle.
Use tweezers to remove ticks whenever you find one on your pet’s body. Hold the head of the tick with the tweezers that will release its grip on your dog’s skin and then remove it.
So, now that you have the knowledge of the disease and how to prevent and treat it? You can share this knowledge with your friends and celebrate the Lyme disease prevention month by making a difference in many pet’s life.
May this May, be a month that helps our country to eliminate not only Lyme disease but many other tick-borne diseases in pets.
You Would also like to read
Lyme Disease : Statistics & Prevention in Your Dog
How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Susceptible Areas