Lyme disease is a serious tick-born illness that can affect both pets and their people. Today our Mooresville vets explain the most common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and cats.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia which is transmitted through the bite of black legged or deer ticks. The infection is spread when an uninfected animal is bitten by the infected tick, then continues to spread as uninfected ticks feed on infected animals.
What are symptoms of Lyme disease?
In pets there are a number of symptoms of Lyme disease that you can watch for, including:
- Lameness due to inflamed joints
- General malaise or discomfort
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Sensitivity to touch
Lyme disease is relatively common in dogs but much less likely to be seen in cats. Nonetheless, if your pet displays any of the symptoms of Lyme disease listed above, it's time to visit the vet.
How can Lyme disease be diagnosed?
At the appointment, your vet will run through a thorough medical history of your dog or cat, perform a careful examination, then run a series of diagnostic tests including blood tests, urine analysis, fecal exam and x-rays.
Your vet may also draw fluid from your dog or cat's affected joints to be analyzed.
What happens if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?
If your dog or cat is diagnosed with Lyme disease your vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics lasting for four weeks or more. If your pet is showing signs of inflamed joints and joint pain, your vet will also prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain medication for your pet.