Lyme Disease- A risk to you and your pet
Jul 15, 2016 12:07PM
By Neighbors Magazines
They’re creepy and crawly.
They suck your blood.
Sometimes they are so small you can’t even see them.
Sounds like something out of a horror movie.
Actually, they’re ticks and they carry numerous diseases that can pass to you and your dog. Lyme disease, and tick diseases in general, are an epidemic according to veterinary parasitologists. Dogs are a sentinel- so in places where dogs are sickened with tick disease, it follows that people will be too. We live in the same environment as our pet. If Lyme disease is diagnosed in a person, it is possible that the family dog has been exposed too, and vice versa. The predictions for 2016 show the threat for diseases transmitted by ticks to be high and will continue to spread, creating a year round issue for pet’s and pet owners.
Is my pet at risk?
For 2016 The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) determined that ticks that transmit Lyme disease are established now in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky. In Kane County just this year 1 out of every 26 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease.
How is it spread?
The deer tick uses bacteria to spread Lyme disease through a single tick bite. Infection typically occurs after being attached for 2-3 days. Many dogs who develop Lyme disease have recurrent lameness. One or more joints may be swollen, painful, or warm to touch. Some dogs may also develop kidney problems. Dogs will begin to exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss and abnormal fluid buildup.
Talk to your veterinarian!
It is vital that a thorough history of your dog be given to your veterinarian including symptoms and possible incidents that may have caused them. The history you provide could give your veterinarian clues about your pet’s health. Your veterinarian may need to run a combination of blood tests, urinalysis, radiographs and tests specific to diagnosing tick related illnesses. Treatment depends on the severity of each dog’s symptoms.
What can we do to prevent tick disease, specifically lyme disease?
Always check your pet over daily and remove any ticks that you may find crawling on them. Your veterinarian can recommend the correct topical or oral preventative that best suites your dog. A Lyme vaccine is also available for dogs that are considered “at risk”. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if a Lyme vaccine is necessary for your pet.
By: Jaclyn Schmidt, CVT at Loyal Companions in St. Charles