Preventing Lyme Disease In Dogs

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By Lacy GilMurray, DVM
Co-Medical Director, VCA, Calvert Veterinary Center

April is Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month. Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium transmitted by the bite of infected deer ticks. It is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease among Americans, and is a serious health concern for dogs, especially here in the Mid-Atlantic.

Thankfully, not all pets that test positive become actively infected, but the ones that do can become severely ill with some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lameness
  • Joint swelling
  • Decreased activity
  • Kidney disease and failure

Ticks can also carry other diseases such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, so the best offense is a good defense aimed at preventing the tick bites that cause the disease in the first place.

To help prevent Lyme disease, people with pets should:

  • Use reliable tick preventive products. Speak with your veterinarian about what tick preventive product is right for your pet. Many over-the-counter products do not cover all species of ticks, so talking to your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet is essential.
  • Protect against Lyme disease by using a safe and effective yearly vaccine. This can help prevent contracting the disease, or lessen symptoms if exposed. In addition to preventing your dog from contracting Lyme disease, a vaccine can kill the Lyme-causing bacteria within the tick, which means that tick cannot transmit Lyme disease to you or members of your household. This Lyme vaccine also has a guarantee from the manufacturer that will pay for treatment of Lyme disease if your pet contracts it while following the appropriate vaccine schedule.
  • When possible, avoid areas where ticks might be found. These include tall grasses, marshes and wooded areas.
  • Once indoors, check for ticks on both yourself and your animals.

Call Calvert Veterinary Center to discuss tick bite prevention that best suits your individual pet and lifestyle. To keep your pet free of these tick-borne diseases, Calvert Vet is offering one free dose with purchase of six months of flea and tick preventative, or two free doses with purchase of 12 months of flea and tick prevention for the month of April. Calvert Veterinary Center has been serving Pasadena and surrounding communities for 15 years. The office is conveniently located at 4100 Mountain Road in Pasadena. Call 410-360-7297 or visit www.calvertvet.com to schedule an appointment.

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