Protecting Pets: The Growing Concern of Lyme Disease in Dogs

The Growing Concern of Lyme Disease in Dogs
The Growing Concern of Lyme Disease in Dogs. Credit | Shutterstock

United States—Humans are anxious that they may get Lyme disease from ticks, but veterinarian doctors believe that owners should also be concerned about their cats and dogs.

Lyme Disease Across the Nation

As numerous dogs in the US are getting infected by the tick-borne disease, respectively, experts from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech mark, as reported by HealthDay.

Ticks and diseases, like Lyme disease, were always considered to be an issue mostly on the east coast of the United States but cases of positive canine Lyme disease have been reported in 39 states. Vets acknowledge this fact.

In early spring and late fall, adult ticks are most virulent, leading to infected dogs being bitten. Although, humans and animals can be contracted by Lyme disease any time of the year, authorities warn.

The Threat

The most prevalent one, black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, are the main spreaders of Lyme disease, according to Jenny Marin, a clinical assistant professor at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Virginia Tech.

“They are small — about the size of a poppy seed — and thrive in tall grasses and wooded areas,” Marin said in a university news release.

Recognizing Symptoms and Seeking Treatment

Clinical manifestations of Lyme disease in dogs include febrile response, lameness and swollen joints, raised lymph nodes, weakness, loss of appetite, and excessive thirst and urination.

Therefore, professionals emphasize that early treatment of the disease can prevent damage to dogs’ kidneys, neural system, and hearts and curb the dogs’ chronic joint pain.

Kidney failure by Lyme disease is typically life-threatening, and the seizures disorders due to nervous disorders are common.

By making antibodies for four to six weeks following the infection, a dog’s antibody test helps in the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Importance of Prevention and Treatment

Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, with a total of 4 weeks being sufficient, vets highlighted.

“While antibiotics are effective in most cases, it’s critical to complete the entire course of treatment, even if symptoms improve, to prevent the repetition of that disease and reduce the risk of complications,” Marin said. “Most symptoms clear up quickly with antibiotic treatment.”

Still, prevention is the best course of action. Veterinarians warn that in addition to various items that help deter ticks, vaccines against Lyme disease are available, as reported by HealthDay.