Lyme disease is a bacterial infection whose primary carrier is the deer tick (aka blacklegged tick). The parasitic feeder, commonly found in the eastern and northern Midwestern United States, is not to be confused with the bear tick of the West Coast. The tick feeds on rodents early on and later attaches to a dog or human and transmits the disease-causing bacteria.
According to our friends at the ASPCA®, clinical signs of Lyme disease include:
• Swelling of the lymph nodes
• Loss of appetite and fever
• Swollen, painful joints
• Renal failure
If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, you may want to visit your veterinarian for tests that may include a physical examination, blood tests and possibly radiographs. Quick treatment, typically a round of antibiotics, can have your dog feeling better in 48 hours.
Many parasite prevention options that treat fleas also kill ticks, and our friends at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offer some great advice on how to put those preventative products to use safely. You can also help ensure your dog is safe from infestation by mowing your lawn regularly, removing tall weeds and covering garbage to keep out rodents.