What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease in Pets

iStock_000091288905_MediumAlthough Lyme disease is no stranger to the limelight, this vector-borne illness remains abstract to millions of people and their pets. If you’ve neither seen a tick before or experienced Lyme disease first hand, this topic may be somewhat mysterious. However, in a relatively small window (approximately 1-2 days), mystery can morph into full-blown misery for a pet bitten by an infected tick.

Because Lyme disease can harm both pets and people, prevention is vital. That’s why our team has gathered the following information about Lyme disease in pets.

It’s Bacterial

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria carried in a tick’s digestive system. Of all the ticks found in Texas, the deer tick is responsible for transmitting Lyme disease to each and every host.

Bloodmeal

A Lyme disease-carrying tick must be attached to your pet 24-48 hours for the infection to effectively spread to your pet’s bloodstream. Because symptoms typically do not surface immediately, it’s critical to inspect your pet’s skin and coat every day.

While many pets do not exhibit any signs of Lyme disease, the following symptoms are commonly described:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness that shifts from limb to limb
  • Stiffness
  • Swollen joints and lymph nodes
  • Inappetance

We urge you to contact us immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Lyme Disease in Pets

If you go hiking or enjoying other outdoor summer activities, it’s nearly impossible to avoid ticks altogether. However, you can reduce the risk of exposure with important vaccinations and year round parasite preventives.

If you suspect Lyme disease in your pet, we will conduct specific diagnostics and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Left untreated, Lyme disease in pets can cause serious conditions, such as irreversible kidney damage.

Spidey Senses

Looking for ways to prevent Lyme disease in pets? Try the following tips:  

  • Avoid wooded areas, tall grass, and extensive shrubbery.
  • Thoroughly groom and inspect your pet’s coat and skin for any ticks. Pay special attention to the ears, armpits, groin, and beneath the tail.
  • Learn how to safely remove a tick. Monitor the bite site for any redness, swelling, or rash.
  • Call us with any questions or concerns.

When it comes to Lyme disease in pets, timing is everything. Promptly removing a tick is a great proactive approach to disease prevention.

That Time of Year

Spring and summer yield millions of blood-sucking parasites, but you and your pet can remain safe and disease-free. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck fighting this formidable foe!

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