PROTECT YOUR DOG FROM THIS FAST-SPREADING THREAT.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that affects humans, dogs, and horses. When an infected deer tick bites a host, bacteria is spread transmitting the disease into the host’s blood stream.
Lyme disease is primarily on the east coast, west coast, and in the upper Midwest, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. Hubbard County has been diagnosed as an area of highest risk for tick borne diseases by the Minnesota Department of Health.
Dogs at high risk for contracting the disease are those that run or hunt in woods, brush, or grassy areas that may be inhabited by ticks. Mice and deer are the hosts of deer ticks. Both the nymph (the size of a pinhead) and the adult deer tick (the size of a sesame seed) can transmit the disease. One or both or these stages are present from May through November or anytime the temperature is above 40° F.
The most common clinical symptom of Lyme disease is lameness. Dogs may exhibit a shifting lameness that comes and goes, affecting more than one joint. Sometimes dogs become so acutely lame they refuse to move. Loss of appetite, swelling in limbs, fever and depression are also symptoms. The Lyme bacteria can also cause heart problems, neurologic disease, and advanced kidney disease, which can be fatal.
We are lucky in veterinary medicine to have a reliable in-house test (IDEXX 3DX and 4DX) that tests for Lyme antibodies in 8 minutes! Because of the extremely high incidence of Lyme disease in our area, we recommend testing dogs every year.
For dogs there is also a vaccination that helps prevent infection and fight off the bacteria once it’s entered the system. We recommend that all dogs and puppies at risk be vaccinated for Lyme disease.
Treatment for Lyme disease is a one-month course of antibiotics, usually Doxycycline. In most dogs, response to therapy is dramatic; however, 15-25% of dogs treated for Lyme disease may become chronically infected and have signs of recurrent disease. Because the early stages of Lyme are more effectively treated, early detection and treatment of Lyme disease is important. If discovered in the later stages, treatment is more difficult, lengthy and heart or kidney damage can occur.
PREVENTING LYME DISEASE
- Apply tick repellents
- Test annually
- Vaccinate for Lyme Disease
- Routinely check for ticks