April is Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Is your dog at risk?
Lyme disease is a debilitating disease in dogs that, if not treated, can lead to chronic arthritis, neurological symptoms, cardiac problems, and possibly even death due to kidney failure. If there were a way to keep your dog safe from these scary possibilities, wouldn’t you want to do so?
The truth about Lyme disease is that it has been found in our area of Orrville, Rittman, Wooster, Dalton, Marshalville as well as the counties that surround Wayne county. Lyme disease is carried by a particular species of tick, called the black legged deer tick. This tick can be about the size of a poppy seed. The prevalence of this disease has increased in our area by close to 50% from 2012 to 2013, and this number is steadily rising.
Lyme disease is a scary problem to deal with! Fortunately, it can be prevented. There is a vaccine specifically for Lyme disease prevention. We are now offering this vaccine and urging all of our dog owners to have their dogs vaccinated. Ticks are not only found in wooded areas; they can be found almost anywhere in the county. You should remain extra careful in wooded areas, as the prevalence of these and other ticks is much higher.
The Lyme vaccine has two parts. Your dog will come in for a first vaccine and come back for a booster 3-4 weeks later. After this booster, he or she will be protected for a year, regardless of if it is bitten by a tick. Lyme disease is not a disease usually found in cats, so they do not need to be vaccinated.
As scary as Lyme disease is, it can be treated with antibiotics if caught soon enough. Unfortunately , in dogs, it can be very hard to diagnose. Blood tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. This test is combined with our routine heartworm test, which is one reason why the detection of Lyme disease is on the rise in Ohio. It is much easier to prevent the problem than to treat it afterwards, as the antibiotics needed to cure Lyme disease are very expensive, along with the blood work needed to diagnose.
Humans cannot catch Lyme disease directly from their pets; however, our pets can bring these ticks into our homes. This brings the prospect of a family member developing Lyme disease from an attached tick! There are a number of products that we can use to prevent ticks on our pets such as tick collars, which, when applied, can last as long as 6 months and repel ticks as opposed to allowing them to attach. You should also check your dog for ticks daily, especially after the dog has been outside. You can also ask your veterinarian to check for ticks at your visits, and find out which preventatives he or she recommends.
We would be glad to answer any questions that you may have! Please call us at 330-682-2971 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and schedule your pet’s Lyme disease vaccinations.
Article Submitted by Robin Evans
Edited and Published by Dr. Jeffrey R. Fink