Lyme Disease Awareness Month: What You Need to Know
As dedicated, caring pet owners, we all know the importance of keeping our precious pooches safe. From collars and dog tags to keeping our homes and gardens secure for our pets, there are many things we do throughout daily life to keep them safe, happy and well.
However, there is another threat which has the potential to affect your dog – Lyme disease. This is an illness which is transmitted through the bite of a tick, an unpleasant blood-sucking insect commonly found in long grass, marshes and woodland from late spring through to autumn. Lyme disease can be found all over the world and is caused by a tick feeding off an animal with the bacteria, thus transferring it to any animal it subsequently feeds from. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause a variety of symptoms, so it is important to treat your dog and, where possible, work to keep them safe from the illness.
Although Lyme disease is not an uncommon affliction amongst dogs, many people are unaware of the disease, its symptoms, and how they can minimise the risks for their pets. Falling at the start of the tick season, May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month – the perfect opportunity to educate yourself about this disease and learn how you can keep your dog safe.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
There are many different symptoms of Lyme disease, with individual dogs being affected in different ways depending on the particular dog and the severity of the problem.
Some symptoms may change or further develop over time, so if you suspect your dog may have Lyme disease, it’s important to take note of all symptoms you notice, just in case.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs:
- Localised infection or rash
- Sores, rashes or infected areas across the body
- Swollen and painful joints
- Appetite loss
- Difficulties breathing
How to Protect Your Dog
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from Lyme disease, it is essential to book a visit to your local vet as soon as possible. Once your dog has been examined and a diagnosis has been made, most cases will usually be treated with antibiotics which will kill the bacteria and help your dog recover.
However, the majority of cases do not get to this stage, and there are steps that you can take in order to minimise the risk of your dog contracting Lyme disease.
You should make sure you are aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and keep an eye on your pet’s general wellbeing at all times to enable you to spot any issues at the first sign of trouble. It’s also important to fully and quickly remove any ticks attached to your dog’s body in order to limit the chance of infection. Prevention is always the best course of action, so make sure to regularly check your dog for the presence of ticks and regularly apply tick treatments.
Similarly, avoid walking in areas where you know ticks are present, where possible, and try to keep your dog away from any particularly long grass during spring and summer. Dog tags, collars and leads may be necessary if your pooch has a habit of running off and exploring on their own!