May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!
Tick season is here! The month of May is Lyme Disease awareness month, and we want you to protect your pet, and yourself, from these blood-sucking pests. Tick season occurs mainly during the warmer months of the year, typically from April to September.
Not only do ticks feed on blood, they are capable of transmitting diseases as well. Lyme disease is spread by the black-legged tick, Ixodes Scapularis, also known as the Deer Tick. An affected tick carries around a spirochete bacteria called the Borrelia Burgdorferi, and is transmitted when the tick feeds on the surface of the dog’s skin. The bacteria then enters the bloodstream and is carried throughout different parts of the dog’s body. When the tick latches onto the pet for more than 24 hours, they are in risk of contracting Lyme Disease.
If you happen to spot a tick on your dog, click here to learn how to safely remove the tick.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease may not appear until months later and can be difficult to determine. Loss of appetite, painful joints, lameness, fevers, or lethargic behaviors are all symptoms of this disease. If you notice any behavioral changes in your pet, please consult your veterinarian. Your vet will perform screening tests to determine whether it is caused by Lyme disease. If your pet comes out to be positive, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Amoxicillin.
The best way of prevention is to keep your dog away from areas where ticks live. Generally, ticks are found in woody, grassy areas with tall leaves. If you are taking your dog out on a walk, be sure to stay on the trail and avoid walking over grassy areas. After taking your pet outdoors, it is best to perform daily checks on your dog’s coat to scout for any ticks.
Another way to prevent your dog from contracting Lyme Disease is to use a flea and tick treatment such as Advantix or Frontline. These are topical applications used to kill all living ticks and to break the life cycle of the parasitic pests. This should be reapplied every 30 days for maximum protection, and is strongly recommended to keep your pet parasite-free. Read more about flea and tick control in one of our previous blog posts.