Lyme disease is one of the most commonly experienced tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Goleta veterinarians share some information about Lyme disease in pets including what it is, what symptoms to look out for in your pet and their treatment options if they do contract it.
What is Lyme disease?
Western black-legged ticks carry a bacteria called borrella that causes infectious Lyme disease. This disease is transmitted when a tick feeds on an infected animal like a bird, deer or mouse and then passes it onto other animals when it bites them in turn.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our pet companions, the common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from general discomfort to depression or malaise, a lack of appetite and lameness caused by inflamed joints.
Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During an appointment with our vets, we will ask you a number of questions about your pet to gain an understanding of their medical history and then complete a battery of tests. This may include urinalysis, fecal exams, blood tests and x-rays.
Your vet may also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints to check for signs of the 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?
Avoiding ticks as much as you can go a long way towards controlling and preventing the spread of Lyme disease. Our vets offer a number of different Lyme disease preventive treatments, including vaccines, monthly products and sprays.
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.