This Month is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and with the warm weather slowly but surely approaching its time to get prepared for tick season and the Veterinarians and staff at VCH are here to get your pets covered. We all love to have our pets outdoors in the nice weather, taking them on walks and letting them hang outside a little longer than usual may put your pet at a higher risk of getting infested with ticks. We want to make sure that your pets are safe and protected while enjoying a nice walk in the park or a day in the yard. Ticks love to hide in shady moist ground, cling to tall grass and shrubs, or hang on to extended bush or tree branches making it easy for your pets to come in contact with them. They also like to live in mulch so be extra careful when spreading mulch this year and always wear long sleeve shirts, gloves, and pants to protect yourself.
Did you know that ticks are found in every state in the U.S. and dogs are 50% more likely to come in contact with ticks than people? This is usually because it is very hard to see ticks once they attach because of a dogs fur, even sometimes when they have shorter hair. We have had plenty of clients come in thinking their pets have a growth or wart, especially on the face or head only to find out that it is an engorged tick. Having a tick preventative on board for your pet is one of the best defenses against them contracting Lyme disease.
Some facts about Lyme disease…
- A tick must attach for at least 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease
- Can affect different body systems and different organs
- Symptoms can range from joint pain and swelling, fever, and fatigue in mild cases to heart, central nervous, or kidney disease in severe cases
- Symptoms can be hard to detect and may not show up for several months after infection
- Further diagnostic testing may be done to check for any other abnormalities or conditions
- Antibiotic therapy is most common treatment but more severe cases may need fluid therapy and hospitalization
- Most symptoms begin to improve within 24-48 hours after starting treatment
- 4DX test is the most common in house blood test to run to check for Lyme disease, heartworm, and some other tick borne diseases
- Yearly 4DX testing is recommended for all pets at VCH
- Even after treatment your pet still may test positive on a 4DX test
- The Lyme Vaccine is 92% effective in preventing Lyme Disease and VCH recommends this vaccine yearly
There are a lot of great products out there for ticks and here are VCH we always discuss the importance of yearly preventive and vaccination and will talk with you on which product we think would be best suited for your pet. We have had several positive lyme tests here at VCH which is why it is so important for yearly testing and preventative for your pets. We want to detect this and any tick borne disease as early as possible to get the best possible outcome for your pet.