May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) and is transmitted by tick bites. Lyme disease affects both animals and humans, and, according to the CDC, is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. The bacteria is carried and transmitted by a tiny black legged tick known as the deer tick.
Deer ticks are very common along the east coast of the United States, including Virginia. They are found in forests, grassy areas, wooded areas, and marshy areas near lakes and rivers. A person or animal can be bitten by a deer tick while hiking, camping, enjoying the outdoors, or even in their own backyard. It is important to check yourself and your pet for ticks after every venture outdoors. But, as the deer tick is so small, it can easily be missed even with regular tick checks.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in animals include fever, lameness, joint swelling, loss of appetite, decreased activity. It can take 2 -5 months for symptoms to present, and it is possible for all, one or no symptoms to show up. Even if the disease is asymptomatic, it can still lead to severe internal damage, ranging from arthritis to kidney failure, in the future. Treatment of Lyme disease includes a long course of antibiotics. It is always important to complete a prescribed course of antibiotics as directed until all of the medicine is gone. It is also important to then retest at the proper interval to ensure the disease is gone.
The best way to help protect your pet from Lyme Disease is to consistently give flea and tick preventatives all year round, regularly have them tested for Lyme Disease during their annual exam, and vaccinate your dog against Lyme Disease.
We all want to protect our pets from the possible dangers they can face every day, please allow us to help you protect yours!
For more information, visit the following links:
AVMA Lyme Disease info Lyme Disease Association CDC Lyme disease Info