Welcome back to Staff Chat! For this posting, Dr. Bando would like to discuss an infectious disease that has become more prevalent in Ohio over the last several years - Lyme disease in dogs.
Last year was the first year in Ohio that veterinarians reported more dogs that tested positive with Lyme disease than with Heartworm infections. This change has been brought on by the increase in population of the Black Legged Tick (due to migration from the eastern states), and the current lack of prevention for Lyme disease for the average dog in Ohio.
Dogs and humans alike are in danger of contacting this disease from a tick bite. Lyme disease is caused from the spirochete bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi, which lives inside the Black Legged Tick. When an infection of Lyme disease leads to disease in dogs, the dominant sign is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite, and depression. More serious long term complications can include damage to the kidneys, heart, or nervous system.
The nymph to adult stages of ticks can contract Lyme disease, and they can be very difficult to detect due to their size. To control your dog’s tick exposure, we should all inspect their coat and skin. If a tick is detected you should remove the tick with tweezers, grabbing as close to the skin as possible, and then pulling straight out. Avoid twisting or crushing the tick. Our team at Berwick Animal Clinic would be happy to help you if you detect a tick on your dog.
Prevention is the best way to avoid Lyme disease. We can do this through two methods. First, all dogs at risk for Lyme disease should be vaccinated. The Lyme vaccine will help your dog’s immune system fight the disease if your dog is infected. Second, all dogs should use some form of tick prevention such as Simparica or Bravecto. These will kill ticks once they are attached, before they can transmit any diseases. While no prevention is 100%, the combination of the Lyme vaccine along with the use of a tick preventative, will give our companions the best protection against this harmful disease.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss this further with the staff and veterinarians at the Berwick Animal Clinic.
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