You may have heard that more and more people are being diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. In fact, Lyme disease is the most common insect-borne illness in the United States. Mosquitoes do not even come close to matching ticks when it comes to spreading disease. This increase in Lyme disease cases also means that more pets are coming down with the disease as well. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to ticks since dogs tend to spend a significant amount of time exploring the outdoors.
In New England, where Lyme carrying ticks are common, experts claim that anywhere between fifty to seventy five percent of dogs will test positive for the disease. Data shows that during the past five years seven hundred thousand dogs have been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US and Canada. Most dogs that do test positive for the disease will not show any symptoms of the disease. If a dog seems to lose its appetite, appears lethargic or has trouble walking, then that dog may have Lyme disease. If your dog, or a dog belonging to someone you know, is showing these symptoms, then they should be taken into a vet promptly. Veterinarians will treat Lyme-infected dogs with antibiotics.
Typically, veterinarians will put Lyme-infected dogs on a four week antibiotic treatment program. This will help control the symptoms of Lyme disease, but the disease may reappear later on. A lesser amount of Lyme-infected dogs will show life threatening symptoms, and in these cases the disease is referred to as Lyme nephritis. Lyme nephritis can cause kidney failure in dogs. Most vets will determine if a dog has Lyme nephritis with a urine test. Be sure to always check your dogs thoroughly when bringing them indoors. Be sure to check around the dog’s head in particular. There are also anti-tick collars and other anti-tick products that could help to prevent the disease from infecting your dogs. Lyme disease is always preventable if you take the proper precautions.
Has your pet, or a friend’s pet, ever tested positive for Lyme disease?