What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a species of spirochete (bacteria) of the Borrelia burgdorferi group which rodents commonly carry. Transmission of the bacteria occurs when a tick bites on horses an infected rodent and contracts the bacteria. The tick then transmits the bacteria when it bites a human or animal and feeds for as little as 24 hours. Not all ticks carry the bacteria that bring about Lyme disease.
What are the signs of Lyme disease?
Once infected, dogs may exhibit a stiff gait and hunched back, tenderness, fever, lack of appetite, depression, and inflammation of the joints and glands. Symptoms of Lyme disease typically arise weeks after a tick bite. However, many dogs do not build clinical signs when infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.
How frequently should my dog be checked for Lyme disease?
The need for a test will be determined by your dog’s lifestyle and geographic location. A meaningful discussion with your veterinarian about your dog’s risk factors can help you determine if your pet should be tested. Knowing the prevalence of this disease in your area and the places you frequent with your pet will be important in determining the series of tests and preventative measures you choose in consultation with your veterinarian.
How can I safeguard my dog against Lyme disease?
The best prevention is to avoid areas infested with ticks. After walking in areas with tall grass, run your hands through the dog’s fur to check for ticks, paying particular attention to the ears, head, neck, belly, and paws. You can get effective preventative medications from your veterinarian to protect your pet against ticks. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
How can I remove a tick from my dog?
Using tweezers or a tick removal tool, carefully grasp the tick’s head and pull slowly. Do not turn the tick and avoid crushing it while you remove it. Store the tick in an empty medicine bottle or two Ziploc® bags inserted one inside the. Other and call your veterinary clinic to ask if you can have it tested.
Latest recent update on Lyme disease in Canada
Tick populations are on the rise in Canada. In 1990, ticks carrying Lyme disease were found only in Long Point on Lake Erie in southern Ontario. Today, they have been identified in other areas of southern and eastern Ontario, Nova Scotia, southern Manitoba, and New Brunswick. Ticks carrying Lyme disease have also been spotted recently in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Alberta.