Veterinarians see Increase in Lyme Disease Cases

Veterinarians see Increase in Lyme Disease Cases

Tiny adult tick

Domestic animals are prone to a number of insect-borne diseases including Lyme disease, and recent figures show that nearly as many as 30% of all canines in high risk areas will have been exposed to the bacteria which causes Lyme disease, Borellia burgdorferi.  Lyme disease can be a difficult condition to diagnose and treat as many people are not aware of this condition and how it can affect their pets, and after infection the majority of canine patients are never fully cured of the bacteria, despite receiving treatment.  The severity of Lyme disease can vary from mild but persistent symptoms of fatigue and joint pains through to more serious forms of the disease which can cause fatal health breakdowns such as kidney failure.


Prevention

When it comes to Lyme disease in domestic animals prevention is the key, and this means that pet owners will need to understand about the life cycle of ticks, so that they can put effective tick control methods in place.  Ticks follow an annual lifecycle and are not harmful to pets and in all of their development stages.  During the summer ticks are generally in the immature stage and by late summer they actually stop feeding and enter the pupation stage so at this point there is a lower risk of infection, but many pet owners mistakenly believe the summer months are key times to protect against ticks. 

 

In reality the most important stage of the tick’s development occurs in around February to March time, when the adult stage peaks and the ticks begin to feed voraciously in preparation for breeding in early spring.  This is the key time of year when ticks present a high risk of carrying the Lyme bacteria over to pets, and owners should begin using tick control methods when the adults emerge in late fall, and continue right through to early summer.