Lyme Disease Warning for Pets and their Humans

by Don Allard

If you take your dog(s) for walks in the Pine Bush, you should be aware of the real danger of your pet possibly contracting Lyme disease. If your dog is bitten by the deer tick (much smaller than a regular dog tick) and the tick is fully engorged for between 24 and 36 hrs, the dog may have been infected. The pet may test positive but never show any symptoms or symptoms may present from days to months after having been infected.

Symptoms include lack of appetite, joint pain/arthritis (your dog may be limping on three legs but have no obvious injury), fever and vomiting. Antibiotics are usually prescribed and are often effective in curing the dog within a few days.

Don’t presume that your dog is safe because it has been vaccinated for Lyme disease. Current vaccines have a less than stellar success rate. Common flea and tick treatments include Frontline (Fiprinol), a skin-applied drug that needs to be applied monthly. (So apply at least one month prior to hiking in the woods with your pet, and every month there after till winter) It is only effective once the tick has actually bitten the dog. A newer drug, Avantix (Permethrin) also applied to the skin, is for dogs only and has the added advantage of acting as a repellant.

Please consult with your veterinarian for further information and advice.