More dogs are showing symptoms of Lyme disease
OSKALOOSA – In June of 2013, alerts were published regarding the increase in the tick population in southern Iowa, and the associated increase of Lyme disease. Now, more dogs are starting to show symptoms of Lyme disease. This year, the threat still lingers and prevention is imperative for your animals in 2014.
Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites, so any dog with tick exposure is at risk for contracting Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lameness, swollen joints, lethargy, decreased appetite and enlarged lymph nodes. It can take up to five months after tick exposure to see visible signs of Lyme disease. Left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause chronic issues with arthritis and lameness.
“In 2013, our veterinary clinics in Albia, Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa saw a significant increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease being diagnosed in the dogs we care for. It is easily preventable and affordable, so I encourage responsible pet owners to consider vaccinating their dogs this year” Lisa Gronewold D.V.M said in response to the outbreak.
The best way to prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease, or any tick borne disease, is to use a tick preventative. There are many options available that include both topical or oral formulations.
In an effort to protect high risk dogs from being infected with Lyme disease, one should vaccinate their dogs. High risk dogs include any outdoor dog, hunting dog or dog that spends time going on walks, hikes or other outdoor activities, especially activities that take place in tall uncut grass or wooded areas. Contact your veterinarian about whether your dog is at high risk of tick exposure, to make the decision about whether your dog is a good candidate for Lyme vaccination. Vaccinating for Lyme disease includes two vaccinations about one month apart the first year and then once per year on following years.
One way to screen your dog for exposure to Lyme disease is to run a blood test called a 4dx Heartworm Snap Test. This test checks for Heartworm disease, Lyme disease and two other tick borne diseases called Ehrilichiosis and Anaplasmosis.
Did you know?
- Adult ticks can live up to three years without a blood meal
- Ticks live on three different animals during their life
- Most ticks spend most of their life in the environment and off the host animal
- Ticks don’t jump and don’t “fall from trees” as most people think, but transfer onto hosts when animals or humans walk through long grass, bushes and brush.
Predictions of Lyme disease cases are especially high again this year, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s (CAPC) annual forecast. With the heightened risk of contracting Lyme disease, it is imperative that you protect your pets this summer.
It is important to frequently check your pet for ticks. If you find a tick on your animal, remove the tick as quickly as you can. After you administer a topical flea and tick treatment, don’t bathe your dog immediately. Wait at least two or three days.
If your animal is bitten, watch for symptoms of Lyme disease which include fever, lameness, swollen joints, enlarged lymph nodes, lethargy, depression and anorexia. While Lyme disease can not be transmitted from dogs to humans, a high prevalence of Lyme disease in dogs often may mean a higher incidence of Lyme disease in humans.
If you notice these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
"With last year’s ticks still alive, and the increase in moisture this winter, the tick and mosquito population is sure to be larger than normal. Due to that, the risk of Lyme and other diseases, such as heartworm disease, are higher.
”There are many ways to prevent the spread of disease in your animals including topical and oral medications as well as sprays and other treatments for your home and yard,” owner Matthew C. Garver, D.V.M. said