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April is Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

What is Lyme disease?  How can my dog get Lyme disease? How can I prevent my dog from being infected? If my dog does contract Lyme what do I do? Is Lyme disease a serious illness? In this article we will tell you the important things you need to know about Lyme disease and dogs. The best medicine is prevention.

What is Lyme disease? Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi. This bacteria is carried and transmitted to dogs by deer ticks. Infection occurs typically when the slow feeding deer tick carrying the Borrelia has been attached to the dog for at least 18 hours. These ticks are tiny and often very hard to see. For more details on Lyme disease follow this link. http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/962-canine-lyme-disease-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention

How do I prevent my dog from being infected? Prevention is the best medicine. There are several things a dog owner can do to reduce the risk of Lyme disease in their dog. First, is being diligent with topical prevention. Topical prevention is applying a serum to the skin of your dog in-between the shoulder blades once a month. There are many brands and options as far as choosing a topical. Some you may be familiar with are Frontline, Advantix, and Parastar. Every product is not created equal and is not right for every pet. We recommend you consult your veterinarian and ask them what they feel would be a good product based on your dog’s lifestyle and risk. These serums protect your pet from fleas and ticks. Some of them have repellents in them and they have varying tick kill times. It is important to remember the sooner the tick dies the less likely it is to transmit disease to your dog. There are also tick collars for pets available. When using any of these products, you want to make sure you read all of the directions and follow your veterinarian’s guidelines so that they are the most effective for your pet.  The other way to prevent Lyme disease is to vaccinate your dog with the Lyme vaccine every year. Based on the area you live in, your dog’s life style, and your dog’s risk you should consult your veterinarian in regards to your dog getting the Lyme vaccine. For more information on the Lyme vaccine follow this link. https://www.zoetisus.com/solutions/pages/frank/documents/LymeVax_OIS-FRANK-zoetis.pdf

Is Lyme disease a serious illness? What do I do if my dog gets it? While Lyme disease in dogs can be extremely common depending on where you live, it can become serious if left undetected and untreated.  It is standard practice for dogs to be given what is known as a 4DX/Snap test at least once a year. This test is checking for Lyme and other tick- borne diseases in addition to heartworm. If the test is positive for Lyme, oral antibiotics are usually dispensed. If this test is not done regularly and Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated, long term effects can include kidney disease and heart disease.

The best we can do as dog owners is everything we can to prevent the chance of infection. Be diligent with applying your monthly topical and vaccinate against Lyme. By having your dog tested every year we can treat when appropriate and give them the best care possible. For questions regarding protecting your pet from Lyme disease or other tick- borne diseases consult your primary veterinarian.

Theresa N.Klales

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