Lyme Disease-Protect Yourself & Your Dog!

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Lyme disease is what is known as a tick-borne disease, meaning that it is spread by ticks.  Specifically the deer tick, which is increasing in numbers in Ohio.  Lyme disease is caused by a specific genus of bacteria called Borellia.  In 2010, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported more than 20,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States.

Signs of Lyme disease include fever, joint swelling, pain,  loss of appetite and lethargy.  You may see lameness or limping in the limb closest to the site of the tick bite.  Left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to heart, kidney and neurologic disease.  Many times, Lyme disease victims do not even recall having a tick bite.

So what can you do to protect you and your dog?  The single most important thing is to do tick checks on a daily basis.  After every outting, especially walks in the woods or tall grasses/prairie, check you and your pet for ticks.  Look on the paws, legs, belly, and face and ears.  Be sure to check yourself and your clothing and shoes also.  If you do find a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers and clean the site.

Use a good tick preventative on your dogs.  Suburban Animal Clinic recommends K9 Advantix II applied monthly from early spring until at least November.  Also available at Suburban is the Scaliber 6 month Tick Collar (for dogs in highly tick infested areas) and Frontline Plus for Cats (recommended for outdoor cats near woods and open fields).

There is currently a vaccine available for Lyme disease for dogs.  This is recommended for dogs in areas with a lot of wildlife, or who walk in woods or fields.  This vaccine is available at Suburban and once the initial series is given, it is boostered annually.

When your dog has his/her Heartworm blood test each year at Suburban, did you know we are also testing for Lyme & Erlichia?  We are!  It's a 3-in-1 blood test.  Erlichia is another tick-borne illness, thought not as common as Lyme disease.  Erlichia has similar symptoms as lyme disease, and unfortunately there is no vaccine available.  Other tick-borne diseases you may have heard of include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Anaplasmosis, although they are not as common in this area of the country.

The bottom line is to check yourself and your pets for ticks EVERY DAY!  We began receiving reports of tick sightings at the end of February this year, which is about a month earlier than normal.  If you haven't yet started your dogs' tick prevention, please do so now!  The best treatment for ticks is to prevent them!

Please contact Suburban Animal Clinic for your tick prevention or to schedule your pet for a Lyme vaccine.  K9 Advantix II is currently on special!  Buy a 6 pack, get 2 doses for FREE!!!