It’s beginning to be that time of year again. We are already finding ticks on dogs that are coming into the Bellevue and Sandusky Animal Hospitals. Not only that, but some of them are even testing positive for Lyme and other tick born diseases. Here are some commonly asked questions about this disease.
- What is Lyme disease?
- Lyme disease is a bacterium that is transmitted by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (Deer Tick), a common tick moving into this area. The blacklegged tick is a very small tick in comparison to other ticks that are found throughout Ohio in wooded areas.
- Who is at risk for Lyme disease?
- Dogs, horses and humans are most at risk.
- When do I need to worry about Lyme disease?
- The blacklegged tick is active year round in Ohio, thus transmission of Lyme disease can happen anytime, but peaks in the summer.
- What happens if my dog contracts Lyme disease?
- Lyme diseases causes crippling arthritis and long term kidney disease.
- What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
- The most common symptoms are lameness, fever, joint swelling, depression, long-term renal failure and loss of appetite.
- Can Lyme disease be treated in dogs?
- Long term antibiotics are needed to completely eradicate the organism. Initial antibiotics chosen may not be effective and therefore require a change in antibiotics. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet can become re-infected by being bitten by another tick.
- Can Lyme disease be prevented in dogs
- There is a vaccine available to prevent the disease. The first time the pet is given the vaccine they are given 2 injections 3-4 weeks apart then annually. There are also many tick preventions available on the market. Please consult your veterinarian about what to use.
- Also, you should be regularly checking your pet for ticks, especially after being in an area where ticks are likely. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours.If the tick is removed before 24 hours of attachment than you can greatly reduce the chance of disease.
- What should I do if I find a tick on my dog?
- If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove. You may need another person to help restrain your dog.
If you interested in the vaccine or are worried about Lyme disease in your pet, please contact Bellevue Animal Hospital at (419) 483-6345 or Sandusky Animal Hospital at (567) 256-3615 and we will be glad to help you and your loved one out!
-Blog Post Written By Tiffany Fritz, RVT