Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world. Here, our Santa Barbara veterinary teams shares information about Lyme disease in your pet. This includes what it is, its symptoms and your treatment options.
What is Lyme disease?
The bacteria borella is carries by Western deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when a tick feeds on infected animals such as deer, mice or birds. This infection is then passed to other animals when they are bitten by a tick which has been infected.
What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?
In our pet companions, common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from general discomfort or malaise to a lack of appetite, lameness caused by inflammation, malaise and depression.
Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.
How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During the appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history, then complete a battery of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays and blood tests. Fluid may also be drawn from your pet's affected joints, then analyzed for signs of the disease.
What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?
When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are generally treated on an outpatient basis. This will generally involve a minimum month-long course of antibiotics, although your pet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your dog particularly uncomfortable.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.