Ticks are out in full force this summer, likely due to the mild winter we enjoyed this year. Unfortunately, certain ticks can act as carriers for Lyme disease, which poses a health risk for dogs in our area. When a tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) attaches to a dog, the infecting bacteria can pass to the pet and result in disease. A tick can only pass Lyme disease if it has been attached to the dog for forty-eight hours or more. For this reason, check your dog’s coat and skin daily if he has access to wooded areas where ticks may be present.
Treatment of Lyme disease can be difficult, and signs can be serious, so the most important treatment is prevention of the disease. Prevention includes monitoring your pet for ticks, monthly flea and tick preventatives, such as Frontline or Nexgard, and vaccination for Lyme disease. Additionally, in-hospital blood tests are available that can be run with your pet’s annual heartworm test. Annual testing is important as many pets with Lyme disease are asymptomatic carriers and may take time before showing signs of the condition. Should you like to know more about Lyme disease or how to prevent it, please schedule an appointment with our doctors at Hudson Veterinary Hospital.