Lyme disease is one of the most commonly found tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Moreno Valley veterinarians share information about Lyme disease in pets, including what it is, what symptoms you should keep an eye out for and your treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borrella is carried by western black-legged ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when the parasite feeds on an infected animal such as a bird, mouse or deer. This infection is then passed on to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our furry companions, common symptoms of Lyme disease may include anything from a general discomfort to a depression, malaise, lameness and lack of appetite.
Keep an eye out for any signs of fever, sensitivity to touch and difficulty breathing.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During your appointment, your vet will ask a number of different questions about your pet in order to gain a detailed understanding of their medical history. They will then conduct a battery of tests, from bloodwork to x-rays, urinalysis and fecal exams. They may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints in order to analyze them for signs of Lyme disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are usually treated on an outpatient basis. This will typically involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your dog especially uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
The best way to control and prevent this disease is by avoiding ticks as much as possible. Monthly products, sprays and vaccines are also available, although these generally work best before your pet is exposed to Lyme disease in the first place.
Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.