Lyme disease is one of the most commonly seen diseases worldwide, affecting pets of all types and ages. In this post, our Oklahoma City vets discuss the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in pets and how it can affect your beloved companion.
Lyme Disease in Pets
The bacteria borrelia is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds, and mice. When a tick then bites another animal, this infection is passed on and the cycle begins again.
What are the commonly seen symptoms of Lyme disease?
In our four-legged friends, common Lyme disease symptoms may include anything from general discomfort or malaise to depression, lack of appetite, and lameness due to inflamed joints.
Other symptoms that may be noted in pets suffering from Lyme disease are fever, difficulty breathing, or sensitivity to touch.
How is Lyme disease in pets typically diagnosed?
If you are concerned that your pet may have contracted and been suffering from the symptoms of Lyme disease please contact your vet as soon as possible.
During the appointment, your vet will ask several questions to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history, then complete a battery of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays, and blood tests. Fluid may also be drawn from your pet's affected joints, then analyzed for signs of the disease.
What does treatment & recovery look like for pets with Lyme disease?
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 incredibly uncomfortable.
Are there ways that Lyme disease can be prevented?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products, and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
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 from 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.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.