Spring is in the air. Tick season is upon us!
It is our mission to educate our clients about Lyme disease so they can make a decision on Lyme prevention for their animal companions.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is passed to humans and animals when an infected tick feeds on them. The most common tick in our area that can pass this bacteria is Ixodes scapularis, also called the deer tick. They are not able to transmit the Lyme infection immediately upon first attachment to your pet, but instead require a period of approximately 24 to 48 hours of initial feeding before the Borrelia organisms are able to pass to your pet.
Every spring when your dog comes in for their 4DX Parasite Panel they are tested for four diseases, one of them being Lyme. This is a very simple blood test that screens for the presence of antibodies to the Lyme bacteria. It is an invaluable test, as early detection allows for a more successful treatment of the patient. We should note that, in our clinic alone, we diagnose between 25-30 positive Lyme’s cases every year. Most of these patients show no clinical signs, and it is only diagnosed with the 4DX screen test.
In what temperatures do ticks come out?
Often we hear people saying you do not have to worry about ticks after the first frost in the fall or if there is snow on the ground. Is this true? No, it is not true. Ticks can be active even if there is snow on the ground and their is several warm days in a row (mid to high 30s or warmer).
The TickEncounter Resource website says, “No such luck! Some species are not active in fall and winter months. However, Ixodes scapularis can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing. Each life stage (larvae, nymph and adult) of any species of tick has a discrete time period when it is most likely to be looking for a host.“
• Loss of appetite.
• Inactive or decreased activity.
• Enlarged regional lymph nodes.
• Swollen and painful joints.
• Lameness. Including recurrent acute arthritis and “shifting leg lameness”.
- Because Borrelia burgdorferi is a bacteria, it can be eliminated with antibiotics. As noted before, the earlier the disease is detected, the more successful the treatment can be.
- One of the most important measures you can take is to have your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease.
- Use a topical or chewable tick protection such as FrontLine, NexGard, or Bravecto. These products are available here!
- Always check your dog for ticks when they come in from outside. Remove any ticks that are found and drop them in to a small container that contains isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol will kill the tick.
- Areas with long grass, brush, damp or other water may be more prone to ticks. Stay in the middle of trails when hiking and keep your lawns cut and clear of brush to lower risks of ticks.
Lyme disease in cats is poorly understood. They can test positive for Lyme disease but do not manifest any clinical signs of it.
Call for an appointment: Please call and have your dog tested with the 4DX screen test. We can determine, in a matter of minutes, whether or not he/she is infected.
For More Information: We have included some very informative links that have valuable information regarding Lyme’s Disease. Please take the time to look at these. It may just save the life of your beloved animal companion.
AVMA – Lyme Information
How to Remove Ticks: