07 Mar 2013
March 7, 2013

What is Lyme disease?

This column was written by our guest columnist, Sarah Sheckels, DVM Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorfei; spread when a tick ingests blood from an infected animal, drops off. then bites a new host; regurgitating blood from the previous meal in to the new host. It takes about 24 hours for an infected tick to pass the organism to your dog; and infection does not result in signs for at least 4-5 weeks after infection. There is a quick blood test to screen for antibodies to Borrelia and several other tick borne diseases in dogs.Some dogs will never show any clinical signs of Lyme disease, while others experience fever, joint swelling, and lethargy. A certain percentage of infected dogs develop kidney failure secondary to the immune system reacting to the organism. Lyme organisms live inside white blood cells, which is why we prescribe an extended antibiotic treatment. An annual vaccine is available that offers high protection against Lyme disease in dogs.Topical flea/tick preventives and frequent checking for ticks can also help prevent your dog from be-coming infected.  

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