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Creature Care – Lyme Awareness

“Ask the family Dog - Lyme Disease is here…”

 

by Dr John Weiner - October 9, 2015

Lyme disease is not just a disease that hunters or woodsmen get. Lyme disease— a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of a very small tick—is increasingly more common in our area and it is infecting our dogs.

In the 2015, Companion Animal Parasite Council forecast Lyme Disease was predicted to be a growing concern for dogs in many areas of the country—ours included. As we enter the last months of 2015, I would certainly have to agree with this prediction, as we are finding more dogs then ever testing positive for Lyme Disease.

2015-Lyme-Disease-Prevalence-Map-Image
CAPC 2015 Lyme Forecast. Click image to enlarge.

Since only a small percentage of dogs ever show outward clinical signs of Lyme in the early stages of the disease, testing and screening the family dog is a necessary step. Testing the family dog is also a very important step to providing information that can impact the health of your whole family. Are ‘Deer ticks’ (that carry Lyme) in your yard and where you live? Are you adequately protecting your dog from tick bites? There is only one way to know and that is to test the dog.

Lyme disease is here in Tioga County PA. The resulting acute and chronic effects of this infection are serious and can be deadly. But “I’d still rather be a dog in the age of Lyme…”

Yes, that is correct. I’d rather be a dog. Why? Well, because there is so much we can do to stop this disease from being a health risk for our dogs and benefit our families as well.

It is possible to very effectively prevent Lyme infection in dogs. First we have a quick, simple, and very accurate blood test to identify the disease. Secondly, the tick bites that lead to Lyme can be stopped with the year round use of tick control products. These medications that kill ticks safely before they transmit Lyme are readily available, safe and cost effective. Thirdly, there are vaccines for Lyme disease prevention in dogs, which have been proven over many years of use to be not only safe to administer but effective at preventing our dogs from developing both acute and chronic Lyme disease infection.

If the family dog tests positive for Lyme there are several next action steps which you and your veterinarian may decide to take. Further testing to ‘quantify’ and grade the level of infection and/or placing your dog on antibiotics for a period of time before re-testing is often recommended. Also, it may be suggested that your dog have a urine test. This test is important when it comes to screening dogs for serious long term damage that can occur to the kidneys from undiagnosed, untreated chronic Lyme infection.

Our dogs are cherished and important companions. Identifying a disease like Lyme in our dogs goes a long way toward protecting and insuring the wellbeing and health of the whole family.

Summary:
1.Test ALL dogs for Lyme and other tick diseases annually.
2. Apply or administer an effective tick preventative to your dog all year long.
3. Consider vaccinating your dog for Lyme after a discussion with your veterinarian.

For additional information on Lyme disease in dogs, testing, and vaccinations we invite you to visit the Pleasant Valley Veterinary Care website and search our Library of Pet-Health Articles. (registration is fast and FREE and your information is never sold or shared)

You may also want to visit the Bravecto website or contact your veterinarian for more information on this and other flea and tick control products.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council Lyme prevalence maps and recommendations for Lyme disease can be found at their website.

– Prevalence of Lyme in 2015:
http://www.capcvet.org/parasite-prevalence-maps/
– CAPC Lyme recommendations:
http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/lyme-disease

If you have questions or comments on this episode of “Creature Care,” just email me at creaturecare@pvvc.net

Thank You for visiting the Wellsboro Home Page.

John Weiner, DVM
Pleasant Valley Veterinary Care
Care you can trust
102 South Buffalo Street
Elkland, PA 16920
814-258-5719

Credits:

Writing: N/A

Photography: N/A,

 

Produced by Vogt Media

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