How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Pets

How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Pets

by ScritchSpot

Both pets and people can get Lyme disease, which is transmitted by deer ticks. The American Lyme Disease Foundation has declared April as Lyme Disease Prevention Month because deer ticks begin to emerge as the weather warms up. The disease (caused by a type of bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi) is transmitted by deer ticks when they bite the skin and transmit bacteria into the blood stream. The organism then “settles in,” making a nice little home in the joints and wreaks havoc on your pup or kitty’s health.

Lyme disease symptoms

Lyme disease can affect both dogs and cats, but is more rare among cats. Symptoms are similar for both species, with the main problem being inflammation at the joints – though sometimes they are not apparent or there are no signs at all.

Symptoms for dogs:

  • Lameness or limping
  • High fever
  • General discomfort

Often times, the symptoms can go unrecognized and Lyme disease will not be considered until other diseases have been ruled out.

Symptoms for cats:

  • Lameness
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite

Some cats develop kidney conditions, and rarely heart or nervous system diseases.

How to prevent Lyme disease

Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of Lyme disease if you notice any of the above symptoms, or if you live in a high-risk area.

  • Limit exposure: Limit exposure to areas where ticks live, such as leaves and short trees in grassy, wooded, or sandy areas. Cats should be kept inside to avoid tick-infested areas. If hiking or enjoying the outdoors with your dog, stick to the trail and avoid going through the woods.
  • Vaccinate: Ask your veterinarian about a safe, effective Lyme disease vaccination, and if it’s right for your dog. The Cornell Feline Health Center advises that there is no Lyme disease vaccine for cats.
  • Examine your pet after going outside: After each walk, inspect your dog (and your family) for ticks and carefully remove any that you find – you’ll need tweezers and gloves to limit your own exposure. Consult your vet on how to do so or bring your pet in for removal.