Unfortunately, Maine ranks as the #1 state in the country for Lyme Disease incidents. That’s why it’s so important to have your animals protected from fleas and ticks this springtime with Hometown Veterinary Care. With warmer weather approaching, the sooner you make an appointment, the better.
Apart from making your pets extremely uncomfortable, pests such as ticks and fleas carry diseases that could impact not only the health of your pets, but also anyone they come in contact with as well. Yuck! Let’s explore more information about Lyme Disease, how you can prevent the disease, as well as symptoms of Lyme in your pets.
An Introduction to Lyme Disease
Lyme was officially named in 1975 after several cases of the disease were discovered in Lyme, Connecticut. A large group of children in the area during that time were said to have developed a specific type of arthritis, which is a symptom of the disease. Lyme can be hard to diagnose by doctors as some of the symptoms do not appear for many months after someone has been infected.
According to Washington State University, Lyme disease is caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is also called a spirochete. The bacteria are carried by ticks which transmit the infection when they feed on animals and humans. The disease is most commonly carried by mice, deer and other small animals in the wild.
Next, let’s explore preventative measures you can take to protect your pets, symptoms of the disease and vaccination options.
Preventative Steps to Protect Your Pets Against Lyme Disease
Although there is no way to 100% avoid coming into contact with ticks, there are a few things you can do, preventatively:
- Ticks thrive in high grasses so be sure to keep your lawn mowed short, specifically in areas where your pets spend time.
- Consider applying a pet-safe bug killing treatment to your yard this springtime.
- Be sure your dog has received the Lyme Disease vaccine from our office.
- Use a quality oral or topical flea and tick preventative.
Learn the Symptoms of the Disease in Your Pets
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets infected with Lyme may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint swelling
- Decreased activity
Specifically, horses with Lyme Disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.
Dogs who were recently infected might not have a high enough level of antibodies present in their bloodstream to show up on a test at your veterinarian’s office, unfortunately. “Likewise, dogs who have been infected for a long time may no longer have enough antibodies present to show a positive test result. So, there can be “false negative” test results for dogs who do indeed have Lyme.” (American Kennel Club, 2017)
How to Keep Your Pet Protected
Thankfully, there is a Lyme’s vaccine available for dogs. Unfortunately, at this time there is no vaccine developed for cats.
Check with us at Hometown Vet about the most efficient prescription topical tick repellents and protective products. We would love to answer any additional questions you may have about the disease and come up with a game plan to help your pet.
Protect Your Pet Against Lyme Disease Today
Get your pets vaccinated today to protect them against Lyme Disease this season. Contact us to set up an appointment this month at Hometown Veterinary Care. You can call us at (207) 453-7387, swing by our office in Fairfield to book an appointment for a later date or shoot us an email at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Sources: Washington State University, American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical Association