Yes, Lyme Disease has made it's way here from up north. The carrier is a deer tick.
How Do I Prevent Lyme Disease?
There are clear, easy steps to prevent Lyme disease. One is to place your canine friend on a flea and tick preventative. Our favorite brands to recommend are Nexgard and Frontline Plus. Apply Frontline Plus every 3 weeks during the “bad tick season” (spring-summer). Regular tick checks are very beneficial. Another way to prevent Lyme disease is simple: vaccinate your dog. The Lyme vaccination is a two step booster that once completed only needs to be updated yearly.
If I Use Preventatives Is It Really Worth Vaccinating?
The answer is yes. The vaccination will reduce the risks of your pet getting Lyme disease. Although you use preventatives, they are not 100% effective all the time depending on application and time tables. Being sightly late could leave a window for a tick to attach to your dog and transmit the bacteria Borrelia burgorferi, which causes Lyme disease. Why assume the risk? Humans get vaccinated for the flu. Why not protect your beloved furry friend from something life threatening?
How Bad Is Lyme Disease?
Although Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline, some of the organisms hide in the tissue where they cannot be killed. Therefore we cannot cure the disease. Consider if your dog tested positive for Lyme disease on an annual heartworm and tick borne disease test. The test only tells your veterinary team that your pet has antibodies to Lyme disease. At some point your pet was exposed, but we don't know when. We also don't know if your dog has an acute infection now. Further testing is required, and these tests can be very costly. Meanwhile your dog may not be showing symptoms of Lyme disease. This is risky because Lyme disease can go undetected for a period of time. While the bacteria is latent in your dog's body not causing symptoms, your dog's body is constantly fighting the bacteria, potentially causing glomerular disease. This is a type of kidney damage that occurs when the immune system is stimulated over a long period of time. The result is a costly hospitalization for your dog and possibly even death. So is Lyme disease bad? Yes, but it is highly preventable with vaccination and tick preventatives.
What Should I Do For My Pet?
The best thing you can do to protect your dog from Lyme disease is to combine vaccination with good monthly tick prevention and tick checks. Regular annual heartworm and tick borne disease tests will monitor any exposure to Lyme disease. Vaccinating your pet far outweighs the costly diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Schedule your appointment today for a Lyme vaccine or call to discuss it.