It's Time to Protect Against Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Exploring the great outdoors is what our dogs do best, right? It is important to consider that if they are not protected, more time outdoors could mean heightened risk for tick bites and deadly disease. Insert stage left, Lyme disease--the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, meaning the illness affects both animals and humans (not transferrable between the two, however, only through infected tick bites). Continue reading for crucial disease information, from transmission to prevention.

How is Lyme disease transmitted?

Within only 36 hours, an attached tick carrying the Lyme disease bacterium can transmit the disease to its host.

Can dogs transfer Lyme disease to people?

While the disease is zoonotic, you can rest easy knowing Fido cannot give you Lyme disease, and vice versa. Lyme disease is transferable only from an infected tick bite.

How common is Lyme disease?

In 2017, a total of 42,743 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease were reported to the CDC, a 17 percent increase from 2016.

What are common symptoms?

Lyme disease can go undetected for as many as five months before signs become recognizable. Common symptoms your pet could present include swollen joints, decreased activity, loss of appetite, fever and kidney failure. Lyme disease can be fatal.

Reported in humans and animals across the country (and across the world), Lyme disease is most prevalent in the southern New England states, eastern Mid-Atlantic states, the upper Midwest--most notably Wisconsin and Minnesota--and northern California.

Lyme Disease Map

Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD)

What are the best prevention methods?

Trusted preventatives can help ensure your pet’s protection against ticks and tick-borne diseases. Preventic tick collars can detach up to 100 percent of attached ticks on your dog within just 48 hours. Seresto collars offer eight months of protection, repelling and killing both ticks and fleas. There also are effective topical treatments such as Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II to protect against ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies and more.

If your dog spends extended periods of time outside playing, hunting or herding livestock, your veterinarian might recommend your pet be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Whenever possible, avoid areas where ticks are most prominent, such as the forest and grassy areas. Remember to check both yourself and your dog for ticks, to prevent both of you from the risk of harmful disease transmission.

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