How to Prevent and Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs

It is impossible to keep your dog inside the house all day long for days. He will definitely have to get out either for rambling around the streets or to the dog parks even if you stay in an urban area. And going out means he will socialize with other animals or roam around in the places which may have ticks lurking around. So, the point is you cannot keep your dog away from ticks irrespective of the place you live in. Ticks can be found in the bushy countryside or even in the gardens and parks of a metro city. Hence, it is important that you take proper steps to prevent the dog from getting ticks and treat them immediately if they already have them.

Ticks are a carrier of many bacterial infections and one bite of this critter can cause serious bacterial infections in dogs. One such ailment is Lyme disease which is caused by bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Black-legged tick and deer ticks are the transmitters of this disease and can severely debilitate the health of our pet.

What Lyme Disease Does To Dogs?

When a dog has Lyme Disease, he may exhibit several symptoms like:
• Lameness
• Swollen Lymph Nodes
• Fever
• Joint swelling or Arthritis
• Lethargy

In more severe cases the disease may also advance to internal organs causing:

• Kidney Failure
• Heart Arrhythmias
• Abnormal Platelet Counts in the blood

Ticks get attracted to warm blood so whenever a mammal walk pasts them, they crawl up to the body and dig their head inside the skin to take the meal. While taking the meal, they, in turn, transmit the bacteria that lead to Lyme disease in dogs.

How is Lyme Disease Tested?

A complete blood count, animal history, some urine, and fecal tests, blood parasite screening, PCR, and ECG reveals the presence of the bacteria inside the host. These diagnostic procedures help the vet to understand the development of the disease inside the dog.

How is Lyme Disease Treated In Dogs?

Treatment of Lyme disease may include administration of antibiotics for a couple of weeks. The course of the treatment actually depends on the severity of the infection. If it is of high-grade, some therapies may be incorporated in the treatment procedure.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs?

1. Veterinarians recommend inspecting your dog for ticks on a regular basis. It should be the first task on your list to check the pet after coming from a park or a place where ticks could linger.

2. Start using tick preventatives for safeguarding your dog from tick bites. They are highly beneficial in preventing the tick from hitching onto the dog and biting them. The strong formula and active ingredients in the preventatives like Bravecto and Frontline Plus kill ticks when they try to lodge themselves to the dog. Besides, they kill the existing ticks still stuck to the dog’s body. So, usage of these effective formulations can actually keep your dog safe from ticks year round but you need to continue the course for the entire year.

3. If you aren’t unable to spot ticks in your dog, take professional help.

4. Some pet owners squeeze the tick while pulling them out from their dog’s skin. This separates the tick’s body into two parts leaving the head still inside the skin which again leads to infection as ticks vomit when they are squeezed. Therefore, whenever you try to remove the tick, just gently pull it upwards with the help of tweezers and put it in the alcohol for further testing or simply, flush it off.

5. Keep the yard clean and seal all the garbage bins and bags.

6. Vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.

7. Be aware of the tick-borne diseases prevalent in your area.

8. Maintain proper hygiene and provide a well-balanced diet for your dog for improving his immunity against all the diseases.

There are many other tick-borne diseases like Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis that have been continuously increasing their reach to different parts of the United States. Amongst these, Lyme disease has a prominent existence which requires immediate attention. So, if you aren’t aware of the damage ticks can do to your dog, keep yourself informed and take all precautionary measures you could to prevent such life-threatening diseases.

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Post Author: Jesse McDaniel

Jesse McDaniel is an animal activist that raises concerns and spreads awareness regarding pet health issues. She is also a self-proclaimed pet lover who tends to support many pet shelters, assisting them with supplies and medical aide on a regular basis.