Helping to prevent Lyme disease in dogs

Dog owners are being given the message that prevention is the key in helping to protect their dog from ticks which could pass on Lyme disease.

Vets always recommend vaccinating your pets against harmful diseases and these can be given after just 12 weeks of age, and a yearly booster vaccination will help to keep illnesses away. While it has been proven that vaccinated animals are less likely to contract diseases than those that aren’t there are still certain measures that owners can still take.

Lyme disease in dogsUsing insecticides to repel ticks and avoiding areas that are known to have a high tick infestation are the simplest measures that a dog owner can take to help make sure that their dog does not get bitten.

Ticks on a dog are usually very small and are not often seen. If you do see a tick on a dog it should be carefully removed. This should be done by using a pair of fine tweezers, where you need to grab the tick by the head. Pull firmly and directly outward. Be careful not to twist the tick while pulling. Do not use hot matches or alcohol as this could harm the dog further. After the tick has been removed, place in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Clean the wound with a disinfectant and then wash your hands thoroughly.

Some of the most common symptoms that dog show of Lyme disease are a fever of 103 to 105 degrees, Enlarged lymph nodes, lameness and a loss of appetite. If your dog is displaying any of these signs it is recommended that they go to the vets for blood tests. Some dogs have contracted sever kidney failure due to Lyme disease and, in a few rare cases, it can be fatal.

Treatment is relatively simple and is usually done with antibiotics. There is generally good resolution of clinical signs within two to three days of starting treatment. Antibiotics must be given for a minimum of 14 days, but 30 days is recommended. Lyme disease in dogs typically carries a good prognosis if the disease is caught early and appropriate treatment is started.