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Creature Care: Lyme Disease

Top 3 Ways to Protect Your Pets Against Lyme

 

by Dr John Weiner - February 7, 2020

These are the top three things we need to be doing to protect our pets and ourselves from ticks and lyme disease:

1. Blood test our dogs annually for evidence of lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) exposure. This simple inexpensive blood test that can be performed in the veterinary office during a routine health maintenance or wellness examination visit. You will have the results before you leave the office in many cases. Testing dogs annually is an essential first step to knowing if your tick prevention and vaccination program is thorough and effective. This test will often identify tick exposure risk in your living environment and is very important, even if you have never seen a tick on one of your pets, yourself, or a family member.

Find more information on testing for Lyme disease here:
https://pvvc.net/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/articles/?rid=360

2. Use safe and effective tick control and prevention medications on your dogs and cats for the entire year. It is no longer wise or safe to take the winter months off. Ticks and in particular the lyme disease transmitting ticks are surviving our Pennsylvania winters.

Source: https://www.pennlive.com/wildaboutpa/2018/01/have_bitter_temperatures_kille.html

The older ‘spot-on’ or topical protects, including sprays and shampoos, that for years were the mainstay of tick control are no longer adequate to protect our dogs from the acute (high fever, lameness, pain) form of lyme nor are they stopping the subclinical infection that can lead to a chronic often fatal kidney disease in dogs.

The safest and most effective products for tick and flea control all belong to the
Isoxazoline class of products and include:

Bravecto (fluralaner) tablets for dogs.
Bravecto (fluralaner) topical solution for cats and dogs.
Credelio (lotilaner) tablets for dogs.
Nexgard (afoxalaner) tablets for dogs.
Simparica (sarolaner) tablets for dogs.

Spot-on product warnings from the EPA:
https://www.epa.gov/pets/epa-evaluation-pet-spot-products-analysis-and-plans-reducing-harmful-effects

3. Vaccinate at-risk dogs. Although vaccination is not available for us humans or for cats at this time there are several very safe and effective vaccines available for our dogs. The recommendation to vaccinate a dog against lyme disease depends on the individual dogs health and risk of exposure so discuss with your dogs veterinarian. No vaccine is 100% at stopping disease and lyme vaccine is no exception. Tick control must come first. Relying on the vaccine alone to stop lyme disease in your dog is not recommended for a number of reasons.

General information from AVMA for pet owners:
https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/lyme-disease-pet-owners-guide

Additional references can be found here:

https://dogsandtreats.com/lifespan-dog-with-lyme-disease

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/maps-recent.html

https://www.lymedisease.org/lymepolicywonk-canine-maps-cdc/

The Pleasant Valley Veterinary Care website article section:
https://pvvc.net/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Dr John Weiner

Videography: Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Dr John Weiner

Anchor: Sara Vogt

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Pleasant Valley Veterinary Care

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