It has been nearly 50 years since the first documented case of Lyme disease in the United States, but it is still a relatively common disease among dogs and cats.
This is largely due to the fact that most dogs and their owners are either unable to take care of ticks and dogs that carry them, or have limited access to care.
While the ticks may be harmless, they do carry a host of harmful parasites and may have a negative impact on the health of the dog and the pet.
This article explores how Lyme disease ticks and cats may affect the health and well-being of dogs and the owners of pets.
For more information about Lyme disease and tick control, visit our Lyme Disease FAQ.
What are the main symptoms of Lyme Disease?
Symptoms of Lyme and its related tick-borne diseases include: Elevated fever.
The body temperature can rise to 100 degrees or higher during the course of the illness, which can include a rapid onset of fever and other symptoms.
An elevated body temperature (body temperature >100 degrees Fahrenheit) can also occur with the Lyme disease rash, which typically begins within 24 hours of exposure to the tick.
A rash may develop with or without a rash.
Disease-causing bacteria in the skin.
In the absence of a rash, the tick may not cause any symptoms.
However, the body can become infected with the disease-causers bacteria, which may cause skin inflammation.
Severe allergic reactions.
Ticks can cause severe allergic reactions, which are usually mild, but can include swelling of the face, eye or mucous membranes, wheezing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, severe diarrhea, and swelling of a pulse or the heart.
While most bites that occur in the legs and feet are mild and can be treated with antibiotic cream or steroids, some bites that result in punctures or other serious injuries may require treatment with antibiotics, surgery, and other treatments.
Cats and dogs also are at risk for tick-related injuries, including: Liver and kidney problems.
Although Lyme disease is not the only tick-caused illness in dogs, dogs and other pets who are exposed to the Lyme-causes bacteria can develop severe liver and kidney disease.
Lymphoma, a type of cancer, is also rare in dogs.
In dogs, there is no evidence of Lyme-related lymphoma in cats.
What can dogs do to prevent Lyme disease?
Tick control is an effective way to reduce the spread of Lyme infection in the community.
It’s a great idea to get vaccinated against the Lyme tick and other tick-biting bacteria, since the number of people who become infected by ticks is relatively low.
This can prevent a lot of tick-carrying dogs from being bitten, and help reduce the number and severity of infections.