How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

Today our Los Angeles vets discuss Lyme disease, which is usually spread by tick bites. Our team goes into detail about the common symptoms of this disease as well as the available treatment options.

What is Lyme disease?

Deer ticks can carry the bacteria borrella which is responsible for transmitting Lyme disease which is very infectious. It is spread when ticks feed on the blood of infected animals including mice, birds, and deer. The ticks then pass the disease to other animals or people by biting them. 

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

There is a range of common symptoms that cats and dogs can display when they have Lyme disease including general discomfort, malaise, depression, lack of appetite, and lameness due to inflamed joints. 

You also need to look for sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing, and fever.

How do vets diagnose Lyme disease?

Call your vet to book an appointment if your pet is showing any of the symptoms of Lyme disease. 

During your veterinary appointment, your vet will ask you a series of questions to get a more in-depth understanding of your cat or dog's medical history, then perform a range of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays, and blood tests. Your veterinarian might also draw fluid from your pet's affected joints, then analyze it for signs of this disease. 

What will happen if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?

When pets are diagnosed with Lyme disease, they are typically treated on an outpatient basis. This will usually involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet might also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your cat or dog particularly uncomfortable. 

How can I protect my pets from Lyme disease?

Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products, and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. 

Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases from spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.

If you suspect your cat or dog of having Lyme disease schedule an appointment with our Los Angeles vets immediately. Our team will be able to diagnose your pet's condition and provide you with treatment options.