Lyme disease comes up in conversation if you spend lots of time outdoors and even more if you spend it with your furry friends. Bacteria causes the disease, and humans, dogs, and various other animals can have it. A tick carrying the bacteria bites its victim, transmitting the bacteria over a day or two, which is why it is critical to remove a tick as soon as you see it.
One of the signs of watching for ticks will happen before you even venture out with your pets. Ticks tend to live in tall grass and thick undergrowth. You will also find them in marshlands and wooded areas. Knowing the possible location of ticks allows you to be more vigilant before and after being in those areas.
Always check your pet and yourself before venturing into the woods and immediately after. Doing so will give you the best chance at finding a tick before it can cause damage. Remember to look between toes, around and inside ears, and near and under the tail.
Because of how ticks lie in wait to grab onto fur or anything else they can hold when you pass, Lyme disease is common for dogs. There are some symptoms that you can watch out for to try and catch it early.
Dogs present with fever, lethargy, a loss of appetite, stiffness or pain, and sometimes swelling in joints and lymph nodes. If you miss the symptoms early, dogs are likely to go into kidney failure.
Cats are just as easily affected by Lyme disease as dogs are, but their symptoms do not present in the same way. If a cat has Lyme disease, you may not see noticeable signs until it is too late for your pet.
If you can catch it early enough, though, you will see lameness, extreme fatigue, and difficulty breathing. You may also see a loss of appetite or fever. Like dogs, cats can suffer from kidney failure, too, and for cats, it is fatal more often than not.
Catching Lyme disease is not like getting a cold or the flu. It takes time to show up in animals and humans. You may not see the early signs until around four weeks after infection. That is a long time to wait for your pet to show signs of discomfort.
Instead, talk with your vet about how to prevent Lyme disease. You have got options of either topical or oral medications that need to be used monthly. Vaccines are also optional and are effective at keeping Lyme disease at bay. Your vet will know if Lyme disease is expected for your area and give you the best advice.
If you do see a tick, remove it properly, and if you need help, contact your vet as soon as possible. Get in touch with R Veterinary Group at 573-245-1027 to book an appointment at any of our offices in Linn Creek, Columbia, and Waynesville, Missouri.