Most pet owners know some facts about Lyme disease – most importantly that it is spread by infected ticks. However, there is much more to know about this disease that may help keep you and your pets safe this year.
How Lyme disease spreads
Lyme disease is a zoonotic condition, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans. The issue is transmitted by infected deer ticks and spreads when it latches on to a dog, cat or human. The disease gets its name from the Connecticut town Lyme, where the first bout of the disease was found.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Dogs or cats that develop Lyme disease may start to act more lethargic or have difficulty getting up from their beds even if they are still young. The condition can cause arthritis in a dog or cat’s joints, making it painful to play, jump, run or walk. If the issue goes undiagnosed for longer, a dog or cat can also start to develop heart, kidney or neurological problems.
Are certain pets more at risk of developing Lyme disease?
Any animal or person can potentially develop Lyme disease, but certain environmental factors can result in increased risk for both. Pets that spend more time outside and pets that live near fields where mice and deer roam have a higher chance of getting infected because they are more likely to come into contact with ticks. Pets that aren’t protected with pet drugs that ward off these parasites are also more at risk of developing this serious disease.
How to help keep your pet Lyme disease free
There are many precautions pet owners can take to keep ticks off their pets, starting with preventative medication like Comfortis, Revolution or Frontline Plus. These topical or oral applications work to repel ticks, fleas and many types of deadly worms. Each medication works for 30 days, so you need to remember to give your dog a new application or pill on the same day each month to ensure it’s working.
Although using preventative medications work to greatly reduce your dog or cat’s risk of getting ticks, the critters may still be able to latch on to your dog from time to time. This is why it’s important to thoroughly check over your dog’s body for ticks after playing outside. Ticks are most often found around a dog or cat’s neck and head as well as in between its toes or its ears.