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Learning about Lyme Disease
By: Tippy & Turbo
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in dogs.
It is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and
is passed to its victims most often by the bite of the
black-legged tick, the lone star tick or the deer tick.
There is some concern that the common dog tick may also be
able to transmit this disease. Lyme disease is also
dangerous to humans.
Lyme Disease is found nearly worldwide. In the United States
Lyme Disease is spreading, but is most often found on the
Pacific coast and in the mid-Atlantic, northeast and north
central states. Of course not all ticks carry the disease,
but in some areas as much as ninety percent of the ticks are
In dogs, the symptoms are hard to detect and may not occur
for months after the dog has been bitten by an infected
tick. The symptoms also may come and go or look like another
disease, so a test by a veterinarian is necessary for a
Here are some of the symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs:
* Fatigue or lethargy
* Swollen lymph nodes
* Lack of appetite
* Warm and swollen joints
* Stiff and painful gait, not wanting to get up
* Recurring lameness that lasts for three or four days
* Soreness in various places in the body
Veterinarians who often treat Lyme Disease recommend higher
doses and a longer administration period than is recommended
in veterinary manuals. Doxycycline, which is a synthetic
tetracycline, is the most common antibiotic of choice.
Medication is usually given at twelve hour intervals for six
to eight weeks at a dosage of five milligrams per pound of
body weight. Your veterinarian will of course advise you
about the best treatment for your individual dog.
Since prevention is the best cure, here are some suggestions
for tick control:
* As much as possible, try to keep your dog away from brush,
high grass, and other tick habitat. If you like to walk in
the woods and fields with your dog, try to do it in the
early morning before the dew has dried and you will
encounter far fewer ticks.
* Use tick repellant and control products. Consult with your
vet about setting up a control program using the best
products for your dog and your locality.
* Brush your dogs and your cats as soon as they come
indoors, and do the brushing over a surface on which you can
spot any ticks that are brushed out.
* Make the experience a bonding time with your pet. Rub your
hands over its body and through its fur feeling for ticks,
checking particularly on the neck, behind and inside the
ears, and where the legs meet the body.
* Last but not least, put your clothing into the washer and
yourself into the shower after a woodsy walk. In the shower,
check especially the parts of your body where your clothing
fit tightly to your skin; that is where ticks most commonly
bite. Ticks often take some time to bite so this procedure
may remove any hitchhikers and save you from being bitten.
Baloo and Paris and mom, Anita
Baloo and Paris Highly
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