How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

Out of all the diseases, ticks can spread Lyme disease is one of the most common. Today, our Monroe vets discuss Lyme disease in pets including its symptoms, treatment options, and ways you can prevent it.

What is Lyme disease?

Deer ticks carry the bacteria borrelia which causes the infectious Lyme disease. It's transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals including mice, birds, and deer. The infection is then spread to other animals when the infected tick bites them. 

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease that I should look for?

The most common symptoms of Lyme disease in cats and dogs include general discomfort, malaise, depression, lack of appetite, and lameness as a result of inflamed joints. 

You also need to watch for difficulty breathing, sensitivity to touch, and hay fever.

How will my vet test my pet for Lyme disease?

Book an appointment with your vet if you suspect your cat or dog has contracted Lyme disease. 

At this appointment, your vet will ask a handful of questions to obtain detailed information about your pet's medical history, then conduct a series of tests including a fecal exam, blood tests, X-rays, and a urine analysis. They might also draw fluid from your companion's affected joints and analyze it for any signs of Lyme disease. 

What will happen if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?

If your cat or dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, they will most likely be treated on an outpatient basis. This generally consists of at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet might also prescribe pain medication if the disease is making your pet especially uncomfortable. 

How can I protect my pet from Lyme disease?

Avoiding ticks as much as you can go a long way in controlling and preventing the disease. Sprays, monthly products, and vaccines are also available, however, most will work best before your cat or dog is exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. 

Your vet might recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should remove any ticks you find on your pet quickly to help prevent the spread of Lyme and other diseases. Though cats and dogs can't directly infect people, our pets can bring infected ticks into the house, which could then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.

If you believe your cat or dog has Lyme disease contact our vets at Monroe Veterinary Clinic to schedule an appointment today.