Lyme Disease Prevention Tips
As cold winter weather slowly slips away and warm spring temperatures arrive, sluggish parasites wake up. This makes April the perfect time for Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. Take action to reduce your pet’s likelihood of giving ticks a ride—or a meal—and learn how to spot common Lyme disease signs to ensure your four-legged friend gets the treatment they need.
Lyme disease signs in dogs
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne illnesses in the world, but only 5% to 10% of affected dogs show signs, and illness may not appear for months after the initial bite.
Lyme disease signs in dogs can include:
- Shifting-leg lameness
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Painful, inflamed joints
Antibiotics can reduce, but not always completely eliminate, the Lyme-causing bacterium and chronic disease can develop. The signs can wax and wane as your dog’s illness recurs. Although uncommon, kidney disease can also develop, evidenced by vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst and urination.
How to protect your pet from Lyme disease
Lyme disease can not only affect you but also can have lifelong effects on your pet’s health. You can protect your pet and family from the serious problems that the disease causes with the following steps:
- Cut your lawn — Ticks are rarely found in short grass, so regularly mow your yard.
- Refrain from walking in tick habitat — While walking in the woods can be a great adventure for your pet, tall brush and leafy debris are prime spots for ticks.
- Check your pet — Search your pet thoroughly for crawling or attached ticks. Prime spots include near the ears, in the groin, under the tail, and between the toes.
- Administer tick prevention — Monthly tick prevention will shield your pet against Lyme disease by killing ticks before they have a chance to transmit the pathogen.
- Vaccinate your pet — Ask your veterinarian if Lyme vaccination is right for your dog.