News — lyme disease prevention in dogs month

Lyme In Dogs Month

Lyme In Dogs Month

There are 58,000 dogs in the United States with Lyme Disease thus far in 2020. Last year, over 7 million dogs were tested for the tick-borne disease and 360,000 dogs were confirmed to have it. The tick illness is the most common among people and pets and causes lifelong pain. April being Lyme Disease Prevention Month, pet owners are encouraged to learn how to prevent Lyme Disease in pets and the symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs. Let's start with the basics. 

Lyme Disease is just one of many tick-borne illnesses that affect over 300,000 people and pets each year. Lyme Disease is developed from the bacterium found in ticks. Ticks are discovered in grassy and wooded areas where they travel between Spring-Fall in search of a warm-blooded mammal to latch onto for food. While not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, other carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (American Dog Ticks) and other harmful tick diseases. As long as temperatures remain above freezing, tick movement and tick bites remain a concern for people and pets. 

White-tailed deer are the number one carriers of ticks in the United States; and homeowners are encouraged to install fencing around yards to keep out deer, thus reducing the amount of ticks that are dropped in backyards where pets play. 

After dogs are through playing in the fenced-in yard, pet owners should regularly groom pets for ticks, as they tend to hide in the fur. Here is where they are most commonly found:

  • Between toes
  • In the groin area
  • Underneath dog collars/clothes
  • Elbows
  • Under the tail
  • In and around the ears

Ticks will need to be removed properly, but quickly, if found on the skin. After ticks are discovered, and removal is successful with a tick remover tool, pet owners are encouraged to take dogs to the vet for Lyme Disease testing. 

Do you know the signs of Lyme Disease in dogs? Learn them:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Weak Muscles
  • Muscle Aches/Joint Pains
  • Difficulty Eating/Swallowing
  • Fast Heart Beat

Spring kicks off tick month when people and pets are beginning to play outside in grassy and wooded areas. Be sure to check for ticks on the body and know the symptoms of Lyme Disease.

Top Reported Lyme Cases

Top Reported Lyme Cases

Lyme Disease is a debilitating vector disease caused by tick bites that can affect all warm-blooded mammals including wildlife, humans and pets. Because April is Lyme Disease Prevention In Dogs Month, pet owners are encouraged to do their research on Lyme Disease and how to protect dogs from tick bites. 

These U.S. states continue to have the highest reported cases of Lyme Disease (in no particular order):

  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Delaware
  • Vermont

Although there is a vaccine for dogs with Lyme Disease, it does not provide complete protection against the disease. Dogs 12 weeks of age or older should initially receive two vaccines 2-4 weeks apart and an annual booster thereafter.

To prevent Lyme Disease in dogs, it is worth:

  • Applying tick repellents to yards
  • Using dog tick shampoos after outdoor activity
  • Building a pet fence to keep out wildlife that may carry ticks
  • Remove ticks with tick tweezers 
  • Always groom dogs after outside playtime
Lyme In Dogs Month

Lyme In Dogs Month

Pet owners are often surprised to learn that dogs can get Lyme Disease, the most common tick-borne disease from deer ticks. Although the Eastern Black-legged Tick, or "deer tick" is known to carry Lyme Disease, it is not the only tick species that can transfer to the disease to dogs. 

Symptoms of dogs can come several weeks after a tick bite and can last for up to 2-5 months. Lyme Disease symptoms in dogs may vary, but include:

  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Unsteadiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate and rhythm (tachyarrhythmias)
  • Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
  • Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
  • Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
  • Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
  • Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
  • Difficulty in eating
  • Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
  • Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals
  • Excessive drooling (sialosis)
  • Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus)
  • Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye (mydriasis)

It's important to groom dogs for ticks after outdoor activity; and know how to remove a tick from pets. 

To prevent Lyme Disease in dogs, encourages pet owners to install a dog fence to keep out wildlife that may be carrying ticks with vector diseases. The logic is simple: if homeowners keep out deer they will reduce the spread of ticks in the yard and will keep pets safe from tick bites.

This Lyme Disease Prevention In Dogs Month, keep a look out for pet ticks and read the EasyPetFence blog for more tick disease prevention tips.

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