Dogs and cats can get lyme disease too – know the signs

Author: Mosquito Squad

At first glance, this picture sets a gorgeous scene of a beautiful white stallion grazing in a large pasture while deer assemble peacefully at the other end of the pasture. At second glance, it looks like the deer are staking out the horse.

I almost feel guilty that I’ve become so jaded about deer. I took this other picture of an adorable baby deer and unconsciously labeled it Bambi has ticks.

Even baby deer can be breeding grounds for disease carrying ticks

Unfortunately for deer, they are not only the feeding ground for ticks that could carry Lyme Disease but they also now have the bad rap of the animals that spread these disease carrying blood suckers into our yards to seek their next blood meal from the furry and non-furry warm-blooded family members that hang out in and around our house.

So do the deer give the Lyme disease to the ticks or do the ticks give the Lyme disease to the deer? It’s the ticks that carry the Lyme disease and they get it by feeding on mice at earlier stages of their lifespan. The ticks then feed on deer for their blood meal and while they’re there they mate and lay hundreds or thousands of eggs that the deer are an unwitting vehicle for.

Back to our pets. Yes, our pets can and do get Lyme Disease. In addition to Lyme Disease, your dog can also get Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Babesiosis. And, unfortunately, according to dogsandticks.com our dogs are 50 to 100 times more likely than humans to come in contact with disease-carrying ticks because of  their furry coats, proximity to the ground and love of exploration.

What are the symptoms to watch for? Also according to dogsandticks.com, here are the symptoms to look for.

To watch out for Canine Lyme Disease, watch for…

  • Recurrent arthritis/lameness that lasts 3–4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression
  • Reluctance to move or a stiff, painful gait
  • Swollen joints that are warm to the touch
  • Pain in the legs or throughout the body
  • Fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes

To watch out for Canine Ehrlichiosis

  • Fever
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Eye disease
  • Retinal bleeding
  • Spontaneous nose bleeds
  • Bruising (petechiae) on gums and belly
  • Swelling of limbs

If your dog is displaying these symptoms, how long should you wait before consulting a veterinarian? As an experienced dog owner, you probably know that some of these symptoms will come and go over time. But early treatment is the best way to prevent long-term ongoing residual sickness from these diseases. As always, use your best judgment as an owner.

Here is a great article about lyme disease, tick feeding and life cycles and other in-depth information.

The best way to protect you, your family, and your pets is to protect your yard from ticks. Mosquito Squad has both a barrier spray program that kills ticks in your yard as well as a tick tube program that attacks the source of the problem.