Lyme Disease and Pets in Frederick County MD
Lyme disease is a serious disease that can affect both humans and animals. It is transmitted through tick bites from the deer tick. If lyme disease is not detected in your pet it can cause serious health issues, some of which could continue to come back. The best way to prevent lyme disease is to vaccinate your dogs against lyme disease and give them monthly flea and tick prevention. The lyme vaccine is given to pets at 16 weeks of age, then a monthly booster is required. After that, the vaccine is on a yearly cycle with all other routine vaccines from your veterinarian. Be sure to regularly check for ticks on your animals, as well as keep lawns maintained with treatment to help lower the chances of fleas and ticks having access to your home.
By putting your pet on flea and tick preventative this can also help keep your pet safe from getting lyme disease. We recommend the product called Nexgard. Nexgard is a chewable beef flavored tablet that is given by mouth monthly. All dogs that go outside should be treated and kept on some kind of flea and tick preventative. In the Winter it is still important to keep your dogs on preventatives, even though you may think fleas and ticks aren’t there, they are. They are looking for a warm body to go towards. By keeping your pet on preventatives year round it lowers the risk of your dog contracting lyme disease. If you do choose to stop using prevention in the Winter, it is recommended to start back up on it in March.
Nexgard is a chewable medication, therefore your pet is getting 100% of the protection when they consume the medication. Since it is not a topical you don’t have to worry about greasy residue on the hair or skin, and swimming or giving baths are not an issue. Some side effects from Nexgard include vomiting, diarrhea, and dry skin, although the side effects occurred in less than 1% of all dogs on the medication. Fleas and ticks need to bite your dog for the medication to work properly, the medication itself does not repel fleas or ticks from touching the skin. Fleas are killed within a few hours and ticks are killed within 1-2 days. The tick should be killed long before the bite can affect your pet and transmit the disease if they are kept on preventatives. Nexgard kills all species of ticks including deer ticks, dog ticks, and lone star ticks.
If your pet does contract lyme disease, a treatment of antibiotics from your veterinarian can be very effective. We do a yearly heartworm test on all our canine patients, in this test we can see if they come up positive for heartworm, and 3 forms of lyme disease such as lyme, ehrlichia, and anaplasmosis. If your pet is on heartworm prevention year round we test every other year. If your pet does come up positive we have a treatment protocol for each disease detected by the test. Lyme disease cannot be spread from dogs being around each other. Although, if your pets are living in the same area and one comes up positive, it is recommended to have your other pets tested as well because they could have both been exposed.
There are chances that because of the environment you live in that they can both be positive. Doxycycline is the antibiotic we use to treat lyme disease in our patients. It is a 4 week course of medication and a series of blood tests sent out. Thousands of lyme disease cases have been reported in humans and animals across the United States. Every animal that goes outside is at risk of contracting lyme disease. Symptoms of lyme disease include having a fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, and decreased activity. Inflammation in any joints can last for a few days and without treatment it can get worse. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, please give us a call and we can schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about lyme vaccines or Nexgard give us a call or send us an email and we will be happy to answer them!