Lyme disease can be severe, so if you are concerned that your dog might have contracted the illness, you want to get it checked as soon as possible. Prevention is always best, so with that in mind, here are a few things you should know to protect your dog as much as possible.
Ticks are carriers of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Unfortunately, it is a common illness from deer ticks, and as the bacteria travels, it can cause serious problems. Whenever your dogs go outside, you should check if a tick decided to hitch a ride.
When a dog has Lyme disease, symptoms do not show up right after the initial infection. After a tick bites your dog, transmission is not immediate. It takes a day or two for the bacteria to make its way into your dog’s bloodstream. Likewise, the illness can take weeks or even months before you see physical signs of illness. Some dogs do not ever show signs until the illness is more advanced.
The signs you will see in a dog infected with Lyme disease vary from dog to dog. The main signs you should look out for are fever, pain, joint swelling, lethargy, loss of appetite, urinary issues, and kidney problems. If you see any of these issues, you should get your dog tested right away. Many can go away and then come back, appearing like two separate issues.
Vets can test your dog and are the best way to detect Lyme disease early. It is a disease that is sometimes difficult to diagnose without medical attention, so you always want to get a professional diagnosis. Your vet may order blood tests, among others, to determine if your dog has the disease or if it has progressed and affects your dog’s kidneys.
You may think that Lyme disease is seasonal because you associate it with enjoying time outside with your pup, but the reality is that it is not seasonal at all. Lyme disease can be an issue year-round depending on where you might live, the condition of your home, and where you may visit with your dog. Ticks are always present, so regular tick checks are critical for your dog’s well-being.
If you find a tick, you will want to remove it as soon as possible. Safely remove it by following the proper steps or seeing a vet to help you get it off your dog. Prevention is best achieved through vet-approved products or vaccines, depending on your area. You also want to keep your yard well-maintained, avoid tall grasses, and check your dog for ticks regularly.
Discuss the best steps for tick prevention with your vet to keep your pet protected. If you suspect Lyme disease, contact a vet for evaluation, or give 4 Paws Veterinary Hospital a call at 276-431-4838 to visit our Duffield, Virginia office.