Tick-induced diseases are on the rise in the United States. Data reported that the number of tick-borne disease has more than doubled in recent years. Not only do these parasites compromise the health of domesticated animals but they also cause illnesses to humans. Tick-borne disease occur when an infested tick attaches to a dog, bites the animal, and feeds on the host’s blood; thus transmitting the infection.
Lyme disease is one such disease caused by ticks that have been prevalent in recent years across the USA. It is a common disease that affects dogs and their human companions too. A more serious condition of this disease involves vital organs of the dog’s body including kidneys and causes significant health damage.
But there’s something good you should know! Lyme disease infection can be prevented! Nexgard, a Boehringer Ingelheim antiparasitic, is approved to prevent Lyme disease infections.
This blog elucidates key information about Lyme disease and the role of Nexgard in protecting dogs from this bacterial disease. Read through to learn more about this.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease that affects dogs of all ages and breeds.
It is named after a town, Lyme in the state of Connecticut that experienced the early outbreak of this disease. The illness is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and transmitted through a bite from an infected tick. Majority of the Lyme disease infections are transmitted by black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. Once bacteria enter the dog’s bloodstream, they are carried to different parts of the dog’s body and localize in the kidneys and joints.
What’s worrying, it only causes typical symptoms in 6-10% of affected dogs. This also means the majority of Lyme disease-infected dogs never show symptoms at all.
This is why the prevention of this disease becomes even more crucial. Administering one dose of Nexgard every month all year-round prevents dogs from Lyme disease.
Lyme disease – The transmission
Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and is transmitted to dogs primarily through the bite of infected deer (black-legged) tick. During their 2-3 years of life cycle, black-legged ticks go through four stages; egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Only larval and nymphal black-legged ticks can be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. When they feed on infected organisms, bacteria are passed to the next stage, spreading the bacteria to the host with their blood meal.
In the majority of the cases, an infected black-legged tick (deer tick) needs to be attached to the dog for at least 36-48 hours to be able to transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. Therefore, removing ticks within 24 hours they get attached to the dog’s skin significantly reduces the chances of Lyme disease in dogs.
Examine your dog regularly or every time the dog goes out and remove any tick you find on the dog’s skin. Nexgard Chewable for Dogs is proven to effectively reduce the spread of Lyme disease in dogs.
Lyme disease – Clinical signs
Though not all Lyme disease-infected dogs show symptoms; typical signs of Lyme disease in dogs include the following:
- Lethargy or decreased energy
- Restricted mobility
- Inflammation of joints
- General stiffness or pain
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty while breathing
Lyme disease – Diagnosis & Treatment
As soon as you notice any of these signs, see a vet. The veterinarian may suggest a few blood investigations to find out the presence of Lyme disease bacteria in your dog. The vet may perform some additional tests to detect whether the disease has advanced to other organs too.
The treatment of Lyme disease may take about 3-4 weeks. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory treatments depending on the severity of the infection. The treatment does not always completely eliminate bacteria from the dog’s body and may cause recurrent infections that may lead to kidney disease later.
Lyme disease and Nexgard
Antibiotics and other supportive drugs may help eliminate existing Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, but they do not stop the spread of Lyme disease. To stop the transmission of the disease, the disease-transmitting agent, the black-legged tick, needs to be strangled.
Nexgard Chewable is one antiparasitic treatment that effectively kills black-legged ticks and as a result is recommended by experts for the prevention of Lyme disease.
Nexgard – Mode of action against black-Legged Ticks
The active substance of Nexgard, afoxolaner, is a member of the isoxazoline group of drugs. Afoxolaner works by blocking the neurotransmission in black-legged tick cell membranes. This causes hyperexcitation in the parasite resulting in uncontrolled activity of their central nervous system and in the end, kills the disease-transmitting agent, the black-legged tick.
Nexgard – Prevents Lyme disease
Nexgard kills infected black-legged ticks before Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that cause Lyme disease can be transmitted to dogs.
This oral chewable formula is one of the fastest-acting treatments. After administration, Nexgard starts working in four hours. What makes it extremely useful in Lyme disease prevention is that it achieves more than 90% efficacy against black-legged ticks that spread Lyme disease in dogs.
Nexgard is proven to be effective in the prevention of Lyme disease infections after dogs is infected with black-legged ticks 28 days after treatment.
Reasons to Protect Dogs from Ticks
Dogs are affected with disease-causing parasites only during certain months of the year; only a few breeds are likely to get infected with tick diseases; your dog doesn’t go out much to catch an infection; and so on. You may have come across any or more of these reasons, prompting the limited use of preventive treatments on your dog.
But it is time to consider protecting all dogs, year-round. Here are a few substantial grounds to use an effective preventive antiparasitic like Nexgard to save dogs from Lyme disease.
# Ticks are everywhere
Ticks are not limited to the woods. Rodents, raccoons and deers also carry ticks. Ticks thrive in any place provided favorable conditions like shady, moist areas, lawns, yards or gardens. Even if you are not living in the woods or your dog doesn’t go out much, the animal still can catch an infection.
Nexgard kills four tick species; Black-legged tick, American Dog tick, Lone Star tick and Brown dog tick; hence effectively protects dogs from tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease.
# Lyme disease is not season-specific
As per popular belief, ticks are only predominant in summer months or during warmer weather conditions, however, this is not the case. Lyme disease is a year-round threat and the infection may occur any time of the year, provided the favorable conditions. For this reason, dogs should be protected with an effective tick control program throughout the year.
# Every dog is at risk
Not one state of the USA has been exempted from Lyme disease infection in dogs. Geographic location is no longer a decisive factor for Lyme disease. Increasing temperature, wide spread of ticks, and people traveling with their canine companions across the country have only contributed to the spread of the disease.
Though all dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease, however, dogs that are prone to Lyme disease infection include,
- Dog breeds with long hair
- Dogs that spend more time in yards or open fields
- Agile dogs that like to play in the woods
- Dogs that frequently travel with their human companions and get more exposure to bacteria-carrying ticks
Regardless of the breed, age or size, using Nexgard per month throughout the year, after vet consultation is known to protect dogs from Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a common disease that affects dogs. If not addressed in a timely manner, the disease can lead to severe health consequences in dogs. With appropriate care and preventive measures, we can protect dogs from this tick-induced disease. Nexgard proves to be a real savior in preventing Lyme disease and aids in achieving the health goals of your canine companions.