Lyme Disease: Statistics & Prevention In Your Dog

Lyme Disease Statistics & prevention
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Lyme Disease Statisitics

Lyme disease has been gradually sprawling across the world with United States and Europe having the most frequent number of cases. According to the report generated by U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease has been accounted for almost 82 percent of all the tick borne diseases. This rise has been driven by 3 main factors –

  • Globalization: It has been touted as the major reason behind this spread because people have started travelling a lot which has increased the risk of transmission of the disease from one place to the other. Also, most people travel with their pets which inadvertently increase the risk rate of tick infestation in pets.
  • Another big factor of this surge is the climatic change which has lead to the expansion of Ixodes (black legged tick) from Northeast of USA to the west and southern areas.
  • Expansion of animal reservoir has also been conducive to the spread of the disease. Owing to the fact that ticks need a mammal like rodents or squirrel to carry Borrelia burgdorferi, lack of the same has contributed to this development.

How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted in Dogs?

Animals like squirrels, mice, opossums, racoons and deer get infected by bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi from wildlife. When ticks bite any of these infected animals, the bacteria gets transmitted to the ticks. This bacterium matures inside the tick’s body and as and when the tick bites a dog, cat or human, it transmits the bacteria to the bitten mammal. This bacterium then causes Lyme disease in the infected animal or person.

Dogs are at high risk of contracting Lyme disease due to their lifestyle. Many a time dogs that are infected do not show signs and hence the illness goes undetected. However, dogs who do show signs usually experience symptoms like –

  • Lethargy
  • Transient Fever
  • Joint Pain
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Polyarthritis
  • Anorexia

How To Prevent Lyme Disease in dogs?

Pets living in the endemic areas are at the highest risk of contracting the infection. Thus, the best method of preventing tick infestation in dogs and cats is to restrict them from going to the tick-infested areas. Besides that, here are a few ways you can keep your dog and yourself away from infestation.

Use a Tick Preventative:

Tick preventatives come in a variety of forms and vary according to their administration methods. Topical products viz. Frontline Plus, Nexgard, and chews like Bravecto are highly effective and most preferred ones by the customers. Tick shampoos and collars also prove to be beneficial when used in conjunction with monthly pills.

Check The Dog Regularly

One tick can cause full-blown infestation given the correct environment. Therefore, it is imperative to check your pet regularly for ticks, especially, after coming from outdoors. Make sure to thoroughly inspect the back of the neck, legs, abdomen, tail and genital regions of the dog. The tick must be gently pulled out by tweezers if spotted. Flush it off or put it in alcohol thereafter. However, make sure this check is conducted by you every 3-4 days.

Vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease

Lyme vaccination is seen to work pretty well in dogs that have not been exposed to the bacteria previously. Usage of preventative must, however, be continued to provide complete protection to your canine.

Keep The Yard Clean

Yard is the most attractive place for ticks to harbor. Leaf litter and weeds are the best places for ticks to hide and hence must be removed regularly. Cover the trash cans with the lid to discourage rodent entry into the yard.

Maintain Good Hygiene Of Your Dog

Well groomed dogs are less attractive to ticks. Therefore, keeping your dog bathed and cleaned can prevent him from getting infected by these critters. Regularly wash his bedding and other belongings.

Use Repellants

Tick repellant spray is also a good product to ward off infestation from your pet and the household. They are in fact very handy and can be used anytime. However, do not use a household tick spray on your pet. For dogs, we do get tick sprays separately that are highly effective and specially formulated for them.

Ticks are a menace. They not just infest our pets but are also causing complications in humans as well. People who get tick bites are also at higher risk of contracting the disease, therefore, it is important that you take your pet’s hygiene very seriously. Only if he will stay uninfested, will you be able to stay safe. Not to mention, how crippling the disease can be for both you and your dog. So, make sure you follow all these steps and stay tick free.

As a word of caution, AVOID TRAVELLING TO TICK INFESTED REGIONS.

You would also like to read How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Susceptible Areas? 

 

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