As surprising as it sounds, Lyme disease has been on the rise throughout the United States, including Castro Valley. It is actually one of the most common tick-transmitted zoonotic diseases in the world!
- How do my dog and I get Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a corkscrew-shaped spirochete: Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia b. is transmitted by the small, hard-shell Deer tick: Ixodes scapularis or Western black-legged tick.
The Deer tick becomes infected as a larva or nymph stage when feeding on mice. Once at the adult stage, the Deer tick will want to have a delicious blood meal and will not hesitate to bite a deer, our dogs, or even us! Luckily, infection does not happen for 24-48hrs following infestation.
- What signs can my dog/cat show with Lyme disease?
As with any disease, signs can vary from one pet to another, but typical signs include lameness that lasts for a few days only and respond well to antibiotics, swollen, warm and painful joints, stiff walk with an arched back. It’s not uncommon for pets to have a fever, be lethargic and not want to eat. Because lots of diseases can have similar signs, make sure to tell your veterinarian if you have found ticks on your pet.
- What can I do protect my pet?
Contrary to fleas, ticks do not jump but rather directly attach on our pets. So make sure to speak with your veterinarian regarding using an appropriate flea/tick preventive . If you still find ticks on your pet or your take your dog hiking in a highly infested area then talk with your veterinarian about getting your dog vaccinated against Lyme disease and getting your dog tested annually for Lyme disease. If you are unsure on how to remove a tick safely and properly, just call your veterinarian. It’s very important for the whole tick (legs, head, body) to be removed or an infection can develop.
- Where can I find more information about tick-transmitted diseases and Lyme disease?
You can check out those great sites for more information and pictures of ticks, Borreia B. and much more.
If you have any pet or veterinary related questions or would like a specific topic to be discussed in the next blog, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RedwoodAnimalHospital