It is common knowledge that can pose great risks to the well-being of our pets. Transmitting agents of diseases such as babesiosis and ehrlichiosis , commonly known as tick diseases , these parasites may also be responsible for occurrences such as tick paralysis and Lyme disease, which we are going to deal with in this article.
Also known as borreliosis, Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi , which is transmitted to animals through the bite of an infected tick. Upon reaching the host, the bacteria can cause anything from arthritis to severe encephalitis (brain infection) that can lead to the death of the affected animal. Being a zoonosis, humans can also acquire Lyme disease through tick bites, and depending on the stage of the disease, they can be treated with antibiotics.
Understand how Borrelia burgdorferi reacts in your pet’s body
The attack on the organism occurs in a similar way in dogs and humans, and research on Lyme disease in cats is scarce, believing that felines are more resistant to the bacteria and present less obvious clinical signs. In pregnant bitches, it is possible for the infection to occur in the puppies.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs
The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs are diverse, and we can mention, mainly
- Fever, vomiting, abdominal pain;
- Anorexia, lethargy (exaggerated drowsiness), weight loss;
- Inflammation of various joints;
- There are reports of abortion in pregnant bitches.
Dogs of Retriever breeds, such as Labrador and Golden, tend to have acute renal failure and loss of protein in the urine. An animal that has been bitten by an infected tick may begin to develop symptoms of borreliosis two to five months after contact with the tick.
Diagnosing and treating borreliosis in your dog
Your trusted veterinarian should be consulted as soon as you notice any of the possible symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog. This, incidentally, is a recommendation that applies to any strange behavior on the part of the pet; do not treat it on your own instead of looking for a trained professional to deal with the health of your four-legged companion.
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is made through the analysis of the pet’s behavior until the moment he arrives at the office, being able to verify if the symptoms are in chronic, acute or progressive level.
The doctor will check your pet for joint inflammation and excessive pain when feeling them. In the blood test, antibodies will be presented through contact with the bacteria that cause the disease. It is frequent that the animal with such symptoms has passed through woods or gardens infested with ticks.
How can I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
The task of exterminating any contact with ticks that your dog may have is quite complicated. These parasites are small animals that can be in any place frequented by our pets – just like mosquitoes for us.
From a walk in the woods, a walk around the block or even inside your house, the watchword is: attention. Always check the pet’s body (not forgetting the back of the ears and between the fingers) and, if you find a tick attached to it. In a pet shop you can find special tweezers for this purpose, which guarantee the complete removal of the parasite, avoiding possible infections in your friend, but, still, the best recommendation is that the work be done by a professional.
The main way to prevent it is with anti-tick collars, or spray or “pour-on” medications (those to apply to the pet’s neck). Attention should be paid to the duration of each medication, so that your pet is not left without protection for any period.
In addition, there are acaricide baths , which guarantee the protection of the pet for a certain time and which must always be done under the supervision and consent of the veterinarian, in addition to fumigation of your own home, which, likewise, should only be done under professional recommendation.