What You Need To Know About Ticks and Lyme Disease

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It’s that time of year again. When you and your furry friend go outside to enjoy the fall colors, be sure and check everyone….canine and human….for ticks. These creepy little, slow-feeding critters can carry vector-borne diseases including lyme disease. Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick and the western black-legged tick to both humans and canines.

Ticks bite their host (canine or human) and burrow their heads under the skin. Their saliva contains bacteria which keeps the blood in the host from clotting so they can continually feed. This bacteria is what creates a bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite in humans, but it is difficult to locate on dogs due to the fact no rash occurs and their symptoms may not surface for several months following the infection.

Lyme disease is very painful for both species. Symptoms in dogs are extensive and can include shifting leg lameness due to inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite, depression and fatigue. In more serious cases, kidney damage/failure, heart or neurological damage may occur. In extremely advanced cases, death has occurred. A correct diagnosis is important because lyme disease symptoms can look just like other health conditions.

Additional visible symptoms of lyme disease include fluid build up in the abdominal area as well as the tissues of the legs and under the skin, increase thirst and urination.Your dog’s joints may be sensitive to the touch, he may have difficulty breathing, or a stiff walk with her back arched.

Treatment for lyme disease will be as an outpatient unless your dog is one of the severe cases. The course of medication is normally a variety of antibiotics. While your pup is receiving treatment and during recovery, it is important to keep Spot quiet, dry and warm until he has improved. This course of treatment is usually four weeks.

Not every dog is lucky enough to totally heal from lyme disease. In some dogs, there is residual long-term joint pain they have for the remainder of their lives.

Depending on where you live, you and your canine pal could be at a higher risk for contracting lyme disease. Although it has been reported across north America and Europe, the disease is usually localized to the eastern seaboard, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast states.

Talk with your veterinarian about products to prevent tick bites on Fido. The choices are numerous from vaccines and sprays to topical medications to tick collars. Have the discussion about what is best for your pal. Whatever preventative you select, be sure to accompany that with a thorough look over when you come in from the great outdoors.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

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