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What is Lyme Disease?

Did you know ticks can carry 16 different diseases? One in particular is called Lyme disease. This is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia Burgdorferi. This bacterium is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks that are attached and feeding for longer than 24 hours. Our Tampa Bay Veterinarian wants to educate our clients on Lyme disease. From how it effects your pet to preventing them from becoming a victim.

What does Lyme disease do to the body? Lyme disease can cause multiple organ dysfunctions. Including but not limited to: brain, heart, and nervous system, kidney failure, and joint inflammation leading to long term arthritis.

What symptoms should I watch for? Most pets exhibit signs of lameness or stiffness within the first 3 to 4 days. Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lack of appetite, sensitivity to touch, and increases in thirst and urination follow as the disease progresses.

How is my pet tested? Not only is the pet tested for Lyme disease with an antibodies test. A chemistry panel and complete blood count (CBC) is performed to check overall organ function for abnormalities.

If my pet contracts Lyme disease what happens? The good news is depending on the severity, the majority of pets respond well with antibiotic therapy. In severe cases, managing the damages to the kidneys, brain, and heart are of the upmost concern. Continued in-hospital care with IV fluids, antibiotics, and other medication may be necessary.

How do I protect my pet from Lyme disease? The solution is quite simple, prevent ticks. Preventions such as, Bravecto that provides 3 months of continued protection are the best way to prevent a tick from making your pet’s blood a meal and possibly spreading the bacterium. Other things to do are avoid tall grassy or wooded areas when on walks. Keep your lawn well maintained. Also, new landscaping, mulch, and pine bark can bring in these pesky creatures. Make sure to treat areas as needed.

In conclusion, ticks that can cause Lyme disease are preventable when taking the necessary precautions. As well as knowing what to look for if your companion encounters ticks. We hope this blog has helped educate you on the disease and if you have any questions regarding ticks, Lyme disease, preventions, or any other health related questions please feel free to contact our hospital at 813-501-4985. One of our River Mill Animal Hospital team members will be happy to assist you.


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