With summer right around the corner, there is always an increased risk of Lyme disease amongst other tick-borne illnesses. And it’s not just humans who need to watch out, but also our pets.
They can’t check themselves for ticks, that is why it is important for pet parents to regularly check their furbabies for any signs of the parasites, as well as take the necessary precautions to make sure your pets stay tick-free. It’s important to keep your pets free of ticks not just for their health, but for yours as well since there are many tick-related illnesses that can affect humans as well.
One of the most common tick-transmitted illnesses throughout the world is Lyme disease, which is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The ticks often transfer it to animal hosts via a bite.
There are different kinds of ticks, and all of them can transmit Lyme disease. There are other blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, canine ehrlichiosis, and babesia canis – all of which have the potential to be lethal.
While not all ticks are infected and carrying diseases, your dog does have a higher chance of contracting Lyme disease if they live in a location where there have been reported cases of Lyme disease in humans.
Should you find a tick on your dog, obviously the first order of business is to remove it immediately as the sooner it’s removed the less risk there is of getting infected with Lyme disease. However, you need to be sure you are removing the tick in the proper manner, or else you risk infecting your dog or yourself.
Once removed, you’ll want to watch your dog as well as the tick bite site for signs of Lyme disease.
Some of the symptoms include the following:
Swelling and pain in one or more joints – the most dominant symptom
Spontaneous and shifting leg lameness that lasts 3 to 4 days
Loss of appetite
Reluctance to move
Other symptoms that are also associated with Lyme disease are:
Stiff walk with an arched back
Sensitive to touch
Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
If the disease progresses your dog can develop the following, really rare symptoms and complications:
Nervous system disorders (rare)
The key to keeping your pet healthy is to get them on an antibiotic treatment as soon as possible should they develop Lyme disease. But of course, the best measure is prevention. That is why using tick control products, tick checks, or possibly even vaccinations, will all help you in keeping your dog healthy. Before you decide on a preventative measure, be sure to talk to your vet about your dog’s health risks, etc.