Lyme disease a common infectious disease transmitted from ticks to both humans and dogs. It is very prevalent in the Northern Virginia area, and depending on you and your pet’s lifestyle, it may be recommended for your pet.
The ticks typically pick up the bacterial disease from wildlife, and then when they feed on your pet, they transfer the disease. In order for the disease to be transferred to your pet, the tick needs to be attached for at least 48 hours. However, the ticks that carry the disease are often very small and difficult to find, which makes it that much more important to have your pet on both a tick preventative and vaccinated.
Unlike with humans, dogs do not typically develop the “bulls-eye” rash. The lack of a physical indicator of being bit by a tick, coupled with the fact that many dogs do not show symptoms of Lyme disease right away (or at all). However, this do not mean that the disease does not exist.
If a pet is positive for Lyme disease, antibiotics can be given to try to eliminate as much of the bacteria in the body. It is difficult to completely eliminate the bacteria in the body, so even with a course of antibiotics helping symptoms, a low-level infection may always be present.
- some dogs can show no symptoms at all (asymptomatic)
- in severe cases, kidney and heart disease can develop
Lyme vaccines are given to puppies as a series of two, and then annually to adult and senior dogs.