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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Is Your Pet Protected from Lyme Disease?


Minnesota and Wisconsin have more reported cases of Lyme disease that any other Midwestern states. With the peak season coming up in the late spring and early summer, it’s important to know how to protect your pet as well as recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease. With early recognition and treatment, your dog or cat can recover from this potentially serious tick-borne disease.

Understanding Lyme Disease Transmission in Pets
A dog or cat can become infected with Lyme disease when a tick carrying the infection attaches to its body. The brown dog tick and the American dog tick are especially prevalent and problematic for pets. They typically attach to a dog or cat near the head, ears, neck, and feet, although they can appear anywhere on an animal’s body in cases of severe infestation. It’s important to prevent tick bites as well as check your pet daily for ticks, even if he remains primarily indoors. Ticks can enter the home on shoes, clothing, or other pets and find their way onto an indoor pet.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Pets
The clinical symptoms of Lyme disease often don’t appear for several weeks. We recommend that you contact our local animal hospital right away if you notice any of the following issues:

• Depressed mood
• Fever
• Swollen joints
• Loss of appetite
• Limping due to swollen joints

Potential complications of Lyme disease in pets includes anemia, tick paralysis, skin infection or irritation, and renal failure resulting in death. We will run an immediate blood test to check for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease as well as evaluate your pet’s symptoms. Giving your pet antibiotics for up to one month is the typical course of treatment for Lyme disease. If you do spot a tick on your pet, use a pair of tweezers to pull it out quickly by its head. Do not twist the tweezers as you pull since this could leave parts of the tick’s body lodged in your pet.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to use a product made to repel ticks and get regular pet vaccinations. Our clinic offers a specific shot for Lyme disease prevention if your pet falls into certain risk categories. You can also find oral medications, shampoos, drops, combs, and collars to prevent both fleas and ticks in Minnesota Veterinary Hospital’s online store. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions about Lyme disease prevention and treatment.

Photo credit: Fly_dragonfly | iStock