April 2021 is Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. The month of April was chosen because the transition from winter into spring and summer is also when ticks transition from their dormant phase into their active feeding state.
“Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs from deer ticks, which are also known as black-legged ticks,” said Steve Miller, owner of GoodPooch. “These ticks live in grassy and wooded areas and feed off of a variety of wildlife, including pets and humans. States that are most affected by Lyme disease are in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Pacific coast regions of the United States.”
Lyme disease occurs when an animal is infected with a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Such infections usually result from a tick bite. A tick must be attached to a dog for 24 hours before transmission of the bacteria can occur. This means that Lyme disease can be prevented by thoroughly checking a dog for ticks after any time spent outside, but particularly if the dog has been in a wooded or grassy area.
“Although treatment for Lyme disease in dogs is available, it can be difficult to treat, particularly if the disease is not caught early,” said Miller. “This means that prevention—in the form of daily inspections and using tick preventives—is critical. It also helps to avoid wooded and grassy areas as much as possible. If a dog lives in a high-risk area, owners should talk to their veterinarian about the Lyme disease vaccine.”
To inspect a dog for ticks, comb through the dog’s fur—paying particular attention to the groin, between toes, under the tail, around the ears, underneath the collar, and on the dog’s elbows. If a tick is found, wear gloves and remove it with a tweezer. Some owners mistakenly treat hot spots on dogs instead of looking for ticks.
In addition to daily inspections, a tick preventive should also be used. Dog owners should talk to their veterinarians to select the best treatment option. Topical tick preventives include Frontline Plus, Bravecto Topical Solution, and Advantix. Chewables are also available, including NexGard, Simparica, and Bravecto.
It can take two to five months for symptoms of Lyme disease to appear in dogs. The first signs are typically lameness and joint pain, especially in the knee and elbow joints. This lameness can shift from leg to leg and may disappear and then reoccur. Other symptoms are fever, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty breathing. If caught early enough, the disease can be treated with doxycycline or amoxicillin. However, some dogs don’t show any symptoms. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause kidney disease and become fatal.
“Prevention is the best protection against Lyme disease in dogs,” said Miller. “By raising awareness about prevention measures—daily checks, the use of preventives, and the vaccine—GoodPooch hopes that fewer dogs will suffer the consequences of Lyme disease.”
GoodPooch provides reputable and well-researched dog breeds and health information to dog owners across the USA. Although the bulk of the site’s content focuses on these topics, the site also has monthly pet contests where dog owners can share dog photos of their canine friends.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
GoodPooch offers health and specific dog breed information, as well as dog giveaways and monthly pet submissions contest for the most liked and loved dog by our fans.
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