Borrelia Burgdorferi and Lyme Disease Prevention
Ongoing research into tick-borne Lyme disease started back in the early 1990’s. Since then, scientists have documented a rise in the spread of Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes the disease.
While it used to be endemic in the northeast and Great Lakes region, Lyme disease is now a threat to pets and people in all 50 states. Indeed, areas that were previously considered uncommon for Lyme disease are now experiencing a literal “up-tick.”
Fortunately, with Lyme disease prevention tactics, we can collectively stand up to these bloodsuckers.
Vector-Borne Zoonotic Disease
A single long-lasting bite from an infected hard-shelled deer tick can transmit Lyme disease. Transmission isn’t immediate; in fact, ticks must be attached for about 2 days to transmit the disease. However, it’s critical to remove ticks as soon as you notice them on your pet’s body to reduce the chances of infection. Of course, humans can also be bitten by ticks, which makes Lyme disease zoonotic.
While dogs who generally spend most of their time outdoors are considered higher risk, all dogs can become targets of ticks. These parasites attach to our clothing and shoes and find their way inside our homes. Lyme disease in cats isn’t common, but it can happen.
We recommend checking your pet every single day for ticks on their legs, belly, underarms, ears, neck, back, and tail. If you find one, please read up on how to safely remove it from your pet. Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
Since most pets won’t exhibit clinical signs of the disease, it’s smart to have their blood tested annually. This is critical if you and your pet have taken any trips, as travel can increase their risk. We can detect Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases like ehrlichiosis.
Your pet’s parasite prevention medication is necessary year-round. If there’s a lapse in medication or you need more for the coming summer, please let us know. Even during the winter, adult ticks can survive and still transmit the disease. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, they may also benefit from the Lyme disease vaccine.
Lyme Disease Prevention
Another excellent strategy for Lyme disease prevention is to keep your pet out of areas where they’re known to hide. Thick overgrowth, low-hanging branches, and tall grasses should be no-go zones. Keep greenery trimmed on your property, which may be attractive to ticks.
Why it Matters
Lyme disease can be very difficult to treat because symptoms can be subtle or non-existent. However, the disease can surface many months later and cause significant long-term issues affecting the heart, kidneys, joints, and nervous system.
Please let the team at The Pet’s Place Animal Hospital know if your pet is suffering from joint pain or tenderness, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, or weakness. Strong antibiotics and other supportive pain medications can help with your pet’s prognosis.