Monday, May 12, 2008

Lyme Disease Facts: Dogs Are Not Humans

One of the jokes that is constant through veterinary school is that cats are not small dogs. As a student, you try to make as many similarities as possible between the two species because the volume of information can be overwhelming at times. It's also why most veterinarians own a shirt at some point in their careers that says "Real Doctors Treat More Than One Species".

Which brings me to today's topic: Lyme Disease. Many people know that ticks carry Lyme Disease, but they are only familiar with the human signs. And with good reason, it can be deadly in humans. However, some dogs may be carriers and show no or vague signs thus leaving a reservoir of risk right in their home.

So here they are: Things You Need to Know About Lyme Disease:

Dog's do not get the "Bull's eye" rash.
It generally takes 60 days from the time of infection to time signs show up so there is no acute inflammation at the site of the tick bite.

Clinical signs of Lyme Disease in the dog are vague and confusing.
Signs include: painful joints, lameness, fever, loss of appetite.

Dogs do not only show signs of Lyme Disease during the summer.
Signs can take up to 6 month to show up.

About 90% to 95% of dogs that acquire the disease will never show signs.

Human Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states.
You do not live in an area that is free from Lyme Disease.

A tick must feed for about 50 hours before they can transmit the disease.
This means you can prevent most cases of this disease with a good tick product (Frontline, for example).

Infected dogs may still carry the parasite after treatment.
Treatment will help with clinical signs, but may not rid the dog of the parasite.

There is a vaccine available.
You should talk to your veterinarian to see if the vaccine is right for your dog.

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