Can your dog or cat get Lyme Disease, too? What are the symptoms you should look for? What can been done to protect your pets? These are serious questions for many residents of the North Shore, who want to keep their entire family: people as well as beloved pets, safe from harm.
Breeds at Risk from Lyme Disease
In New England, Lyme Disease is transmitted by the black-legged tick (Ixodes Scapularis) which is also known as the deer tick. These ticks are infected by mice and other rodents, from whose dens these small ticks emerge and hungrily attach themselves to passing deer, dogs, cattle, horses, cats, as well as humans. According to MSPCA/Angell, it is estimated that over 50% of all dogs in New England have contracted and will test positive for Lyme Disease. And while most dogs may never show symptoms of infection, for those that do, treatment is necessary to prevent chronic illnesses, such as kidney failure. Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Bernese Mountain dogs and young dogs of all breeds are the most susceptible to complications from Lyme Disease (Source: PetMD) Research from the Cornell Feline Health Center states that there has never been a case of naturally occurring Lyme Disease in cats, to date, outside of a laboratory setting.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in your pet
To infect its host, a tick needs to be latched on and feeding for 48 hours or more. This is the time needed for enough of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium to reach a level high enough to infect its host. So, daily tick checks and prompt tick removal are critically important to keep your pets healthy and safe from Lyme Disease.
If you suspect your dog might have Lyme Disease, here are some symptoms to look for:
- “shifting leg lameness” This is lameness in one leg that lasts for 3-5 days; clears up only to come back again in the same or a different leg. This can last for weeks or longer.
- stiff walk with an arched back
- abnormal lethargy
- depression, fever, and a noticeable lack of appetite
- swollen lymph nodes near an infected tick bite site
It is important to note that Lyme Disease does not simple “go away.” Like humans, animals will need medicine to eradicate Lyme Disease from their system. For dogs, that will be up to a four-week course on antibiotics. The success rate is extremely high. In some cases, lingering arthritis-like symptoms can continue for many months after treatment, so the sooner your pet is treated, the better.
Protecting your Pet
There are several things that you can do to protect your pets from Lyme Disease. Prevention is absolutely the first line of defense. Prevention comes in various forms:
- barrier sprays and strategic tick tube placement around your property. Barrier sprays prevent up to 85% – 90% of mosquitoes and adult ticks from entering your yard. These long-lasting sprays work rain or shine for up to three weeks at a time and ensure your dog can roam your property safely.
- monthly parasite topical pet drops to repel any ticks that make it across the barrier treatment.
- daily tick checks to remove any ticks, so they do not have the needed 48 hours to pass the infection along. To remove a tick, see our excellent earlier story.
- request that your animal hospital or doggie day care also has barrier treatment or a misting system in place to prevent tick infestation. This is especially important if your sweet pet is a regular visitor. They need to extend the same level of protection in your animal’s home away from home.
Protecting your Pet from Lyme Disease: Tick Control North Shore is a serious matter, but with simple steps in tick prevention can be made relatively simple.
To learn more about our highly effective tick tube program and barrier sprays, contact Mosquito Squad of the North Shore. Call us today.