Lyme disease is a tick borne illness caused by a bacterial infection called Borellia burgdorferi. Infected ticks may begin transmission of this bacteria as early as 24 hours after attachment to your pet. Clinical signs of Lyme disease may be vague, ranging from swollen lymph nodes, fever, and lethargy, to seizures and kidney failure. Clinical signs can emerge anywhere from 2-4 months after exposure, and Borellia can be very difficult to fully clear from the system, even with 30 days of antibiotics like Doxycycline, so some infections may emerge years later. Severe manifestations of disease may require hospitalization and supportive care with IV fluids, pain management, and IV antibiotics.
Prevention consists of protection from tick exposure and vaccination yearly. There are ranges of preventatives, from topical to oral medications, and the best plan is to discuss your dog’s risk factors with your Indianapolis veterinarian and make a plan accordingly.
Testing for Lyme disease may be done yearly or on a case by case basis. Some veterinary clinics routinely screen for exposure to tick borne diseases, and testing now can differentiate between acute or chronic infections and vaccinations.
While Lyme disease is not a new concern, it is becoming more prevalent in many areas of the country. More information may be found at www.capcvet.org