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Lyme disease in Pets

Lyme disease has been diagnosed in humans, dogs, cats, horses, goats, sheep and cattle. 

 

Prevention

The degree of prevention for your pet depends upon exposure to areas at high risk for Lyme disease.  Grooming to detect ticks and prompt removal will help to minimize the risk of contracting Lyme disease.  Ticks can be removed with tweezers by grasping the mouth parts of the tick adjacent to the skin and gently pulling back.  If not done properly, the mouth parts of the tick can remain imbedded in the animal.  If you are uncertain about the proper method for removing ticks, consult your veterinarian.

 

Tick prevention and tick-killing products are available for cats and dogs.  Vaccines are available for dogs.  Consult your veterinarian to determine if vaccination and tick prevention measures are recommended in your area.  If you plan to travel with your pet, you may need to take precautions to prevent tick exposure when away from home.

 

Symptoms

Dogs infected with Lyme disease may display symptoms which include fever, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, swelling and pain in one or more joints, shifting leg lameness, kidney disease, heart disease and nervous system disorders.  Most cats do not exhibit symptoms of Lyme disease but the signs of illness in cats are similar to those in dogs and may also include eye problems, breathing disorders and possible sudden collapse.

 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Lyme disease in pets is based on risk of exposure, clinical symptoms and blood testing.

 

Treatment

Lyme disease in pets is treated with antibiotics.  With early detection, animals may experience relief of symptoms within 24 hours of treatment.  Chronic cases require longer periods of treatment.