How to Prevent Lyme Disease



    April is Lyme Disease in Dogs Prevention Month

    Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is an illness that affects both animals and humans – what is known as a zoonotic disease – and is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. 

    In 1975, the disease was identified in Lyme, Ct.  The disease has since been reported in humans and animals across the United States and around the world.  The disease appears mostly in the New England States, Eastern Mid-Atlantic States, Wisconsin and Minnesota and northern California. The CDC maintains a map detailing confirmed cases of Lyme disease throughout the years. 

    Do you know how to prevent lyme disease?  Do you know the symptoms? 

     How to Prevent Lyme Disease

    The best way to protect pets from Lyme disease is to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.  Try to keep your lawn and frontal shrubbery well maintained. If you live in a wooded area, it's best to speak with your veterinarian about what tick preventive product is right for your pet.  Try to avoid areas where ticks might be found. These areas include tall grasses, marshes and wooded areas. We can't always keep our dog out of these areas because they are curious in nature, so upon return, check for ticks on your dog.

    Is there a shot to prevent Lyme Disease in my dog

     There are preventive Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, but they aren't necessarily recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to see if the vaccination makes sense for your pets. If your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated against Lyme disease, the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.

    Does My Dog Have Lyme Disease

    Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.  Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:  Fever, loss of appetite, joint swelling and decreased activity.

    Is Lyme disease fatal to my dog

    Lyme disease can cause kidney failure and death in severe cases. The most common sign of Lyme disease in dogs is arthritis, which causes sudden lameness, pain and sometimes swelling in one or more joints. If you believe your dog may have Lyme disease, contact your vet immediately.

    How to remove a tick

    Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.  After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.  Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.


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