What is it?
Infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi..
Who is susceptible to it?
Lyme disease can affect dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, wild animals and people.
How does it spread?
Deer ticks transmit the organism. However, the bacteria are not injected into the host animal until the tick has been attached for 10 to 24 hours. Whitetail deer and white-footed mice appear to be natural carriers of the bacterium.
Time line from exposure to signs?
Signs begin within days, weeks, or even months.
What are the symptoms?
Signs of Lyme disease are vague and resemble those of various other conditions like RMSF and Ehrlichiosis. Initial signs include a rash, fever, joint swelling and pain and swollen lymph nodes. Within days, weeks, or even months, more serious signs develop, such as heart, brain, kidney and joint disorders. Painful joint swelling is the most common advanced sign.
Is there a test for it?
Yes, there are two different tests.
A blood Snap test done in the hospital, results available in 10 minutes.
A follow up blood test to the lab, which gives a numerical value to the infection allowing for more accurate information.
How is it treated?
The response to treatment depends on the pet’s general health and resistance to disease. Some pets will require hospitalization while others will require simple antibiotic therapy. Treatment requires at least 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy. Often pets will continue to test positive for the disease and have recurrence of the disease at a later time.
Cleaning the environment?
Keep pets away from areas infested with ticks. Keep the yard free of bushes or places where ticks may like to hide. Use a tick preventive product like Frontline, Promeris or Advantix.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes, however, the vaccine (Recombinant) is not 100% protective. Getting the vaccine does not make you pet immune to Lyme disease, but it does help slow down the progression of the disease and often time lessens the symptoms. The vaccine (Recombinant) is given by injection and requires two doses 4 weeks apart with yearly boosters. In puppies at least 2 doses after 12 weeks of age should be given.
Risk for humans?
Humans can be infected directly by a tick bite. A person is unlikely to contract the disease from a pet unless he was to remove an unattached tick from the pet and allow the tick to feed on him.