Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs: What Pet Owners Need to Know

Lyme Disease in DogsAfter a long winter, it’s hard to be anything other than delighted by the arrival of spring, and the dangers associated with warm weather are probably the farthest thing from most pet owners’ minds. Before we turn our attention to dusting off the patio furniture and firing up the grill, your team at Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center would like to turn your attention to a very real springtime risk to your pet: Lyme disease.

April is National Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. At Berks, we want to bring awareness and education to pet owners regarding this dangerous, and surprisingly common, disease.

Know the Signs

As Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in Lyme disease cases in humans, Lyme disease in dogs is also on the rise each year. It can take several months for symptoms of the disease to appear, and, in some cases, an infected dog may never display clinical signs.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Stiff, painful joints (limping, walking with an arched back, etc.)
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Loss of appetite

Please give us a call if you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, or you are concerned that they may have been infected. Untreated Lyme disease has been linked to long-term problems with the joints, kidneys, heart, and nervous system.

Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

Reducing the chances that your dog will come into contact with a tick is the best way to protect them from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The following tips will help you protect your pet and family:

  • Keep your pet on a monthly tick prevention medication throughout the year. Your veterinarian will help you to determine the parasite prevention protocol that’s right for your pet.
  • Check your dog thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it by carefully using tweezers and pulling it straight out by the head.
  • Make the area around your home less hospitable to ticks, and the rodents and other animals they feed on, by keeping weeds and grasses cut short and making sure there are no piles of leaves, wood, or other debris near your home.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, make sure they stay on the path or trail and out of brush and tall grass.
  • Don’t allow your dog to investigate live or dead wildlife.
  • Ask your veterinarian if your dog is a good candidate for the Lyme disease vaccine.

If you have more questions about Lyme disease in dogs, don’t hesitate to contact your partners in pet care at Berks!