Experts believe there has been an estimated total of 450 human cases of Lyme disease in Brevard County in the last 16 years. But it is our dogs that are the number one hosts of Lyme disease. Luckily, Lyme disease is not something you cannot catch from your dog, but it is a disease that is recognizable, preventable, and for the most part, avoidable.
Let’s dive into the facts about canine Lyme disease and what we can do to help prevent it.
What do you know about canine Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is zoonotic, and that means the disease can live in both animals and people. It takes 1-2 days for a tick to transmit Lyme disease to you or your dog. Fortunately, no other animals besides the hard-shelled Deer tick can transmit Lyme disease.
Interestingly, the disease actually starts as bacteria. That bacterium reacts with the tick’s gut biome and then creates Lyme disease. Afterward, it can be carried from host to host by multiple ticks. So remember to spend some time tick checking your hiking partner anytime you are in tall grass or wooded areas.
Warning Signs of Lyme Disease in Your Dog
In dogs, Lyme disease has a myriad of symptoms. Sometimes there aren’t any symptoms, and a consultation with your dog’s veterinarian is the only way to diagnose the condition. But if you remove a tick from your dog, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior. Below is a list of some obvious symptoms to keep in mind.
- Most Common: Stiff joints that can appear to be switching places and an arched back.
- Common: Sensitivity to touch or soreness, either at the site or on the body, like arthritic aches and pains.
- Common: Enlarged lymph nodes.
- Rare: Difficulty breathing, gums are blue, labored panting, gasping for air.
- Rare: Fever; taken rectally, a dog’s temperature should be between 100.01 – 102.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rare: Kidney failure and death.
If you see any symptoms or are concerned that your dog may have Lyme disease, contact your veterinarian. There is a simple same-day blood test most offices can perform. It is there to give pet parents peace of mind and catch any health issues your pet may be having sooner rather than later.
What can you do to protect your dog from Lyme disease?
As a pet parent, you want to protect your furbaby to the very best of your ability. Thank you so much for that! Protecting your dog before there is a problem is one of the most significant puzzle pieces in animal healthcare. As responsible dog sitters, we agree.
Did you know there is a Lyme vaccine available? However, only a veterinarian can administer this vaccine. You can talk with your trusted veterinarian to see if the vaccine is right for your pet. While you are there, take that time to ask the staff to check for ticks. Their trained eyes know where ticks love to dine plus they will love having an excuse to rub all over your furbaby.
Since it is rare for the weather here in Melbourne, Florida to get below freezing, ticks in this area do not hibernate. So year-round tick prevention is critical.
Many oral flea preventions have tick prevention in it as well. This means the moment the tick takes a blood meal, it dies, and it cannot transmit Lyme disease. And that is fantastic news! It is important to note that not all flea prevention has tick prevention, so double check to see what you are giving.
Another great product that takes care of ticks is the Seresto Collar. The manufacturer boasts that it kills attached ticks within 48 hours. But the big seller is that it also repels ticks. IT is the only over the counter flea and tick control that is recommended by veterinarians.
As an additional precaution, our team here at Space Coast Pet Service is consciously aware of where your pet is walking. Sometimes the best we can do is avoiding a problem altogether.
Tallgrass is a lovely home for ticks; look carefully, and you can see the welcome mats. They hang out near the tops of long blades of grass, or on the tip of low hanging leaves, and wait patiently to catch a ride on their next meal. It is best to keep home lawns and shrubbery well maintained so you can let your pet frolic outside without worry.
While you are away from your pet, breathe easy knowing we’ve got your back. Our pet and house sitters understand what to look for to keep your pets safe. Our dog boarding and pet sitting areas are well maintained. So together we can give the very best care to your best friend.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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