The weather is finally looking like spring. As we start enjoying the outside more, so is the bug population.
April is National Prevent Lyme Disease Month in dogs, a topic that is near and dear to us here in the Northeast. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by a single celled spiral shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The organism is spread primarily by the deer tick with deer and mice being the primary reservoir. Lyme disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states and dogs are 50% more likely than humans to get it. In 2007, Lyme disease was the cause of most pet insurance claims for infectious diseases according to VPI Pet Insurance statistics.
Common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, joint swelling, pain, loss of appetite, lethargy and arthritis. Although not as commonly seen as those mentioned, Lyme disease can lead to heart disease, neurological disease, and kidney disease.
Is Lyme disease Preventable in Dogs?
With a multi-modal approach, yes. Most importantly is prevention of tick bites. This can be done by
- Avoiding areas where ticks congregate
- Checking your dog daily for ticks and immediately removing any found.
- Using a good quality SAFE tick preventative and/or repellant
The second step is vaccination. There are a multitude of efficacious safe vaccines available for dogs. Check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is vaccinated and has a good preventative on board.
Dr. Monica Dijanic
Medical Director, Beaver Brook Animal Hospital