Most dogs love running through the woods or playing out on the lawn, but outdoor adventures require a little extra protection. Ticks and other parasites can transmit illnesses that affect humans and dogs alike, especially Lyme disease. This infection can have serious, long-term symptoms for our four-legged friends, but understanding the disease and consulting with a veterinarian can prevent the contagion from spreading.
Lyme Disease & Your Dog
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria most often spread by deer ticks. Unfortunately, dogs may not develop symptoms for two to five months after a tick bite. In time, infected pets may develop a fever, loss of appetite, and swollen, painful joints. Leg pain can make walking difficult and may migrate from one limb to another.
How Lyme Disease Is Treated
Fortunately, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, although treatment can take over a month to complete. If your furry friend is experiencing joint pain, your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the swelling and inflammation. While most pets fully recover, eliminating the bacteria completely isn’t always possible. In these cases, dogs can experience recurring symptoms even years later.
Preventing Lyme Disease
Dogs are closer to the ground, which means they’re more likely to pick up ticks while on a hike or playing outside. Talk to your veterinarian about the best flea preventative treatment, and ask whether your dog should be vaccinated.
After excursions through the woods or tall grass, check both yourself and your pet for ticks as soon as you get home. Comb through their fur with your fingers and press gently so you can feel for any bumps on their skin. Ticks can be brown, black, or dark gray, and can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape. Make sure you’re checking in between your dog’s toes, in their ears, and around their face and neck.
Keep your lawn well-maintained by trimming back bushes and keeping the grass short. This will reduce the risk of your dog being bitten while playing or lounging around the house.
With a state-of-the-art clinic and a caring staff committed to your furry friend’s welfare, Cedarknoll Animal Hospital is the leading veterinarian clinic in Montgomery, NY. They pride themselves on taking a preventative approach to animal care but have the skills and equipment needed to administer any treatment your beloved family member requires. Visit their website for an overview of their veterinarian services, or call (845) 361-5404 to make an appointment for your pet today.