By Marianne Curtis
Pet owners are advised to keep an eye on their pets for symptoms after a recent influx on lyme disease in household or family pets over the past few months.
According to Dr. Venessa Graydon with the St. Pierre Veterinary Clinic, the clinic as seen at least thirty cases of exposure to Borrelia Bergdorferi, the agent that causes lyme disease.
“Notice I said exposure to the agent and not 30 cases of actual Lyme Disease,” says Graydon. “The tests that are used in clinic can confirm exposure, and it is up to your veterinarian to decide if this exposure warrants treatment.”
Pet owners who think their dog or cat may have been exposed should take their animal to the veterinary.
“Vets will assess risk, clinical signs, and possibly further testing to determine whether treatment is necessary in your pet’s case,” Graydon noted.
Lyme disseas is spread through deer ticks; the bacteria lives in the ticks stomach and is transferred to a pet when the tick feeds. The bacteria enters the bloodstream where it has the potential to cause lyme disease.
“Most pets can fight off this infection without us even noticing anything happened,” continued Graydon. “In some cases the pet gets sick.”
Things to watch for include fever, general malaise, shifting leg lameness with apparent cause and frequent urination. These symptoms can appear long after the initial bite and the disease can remain dormant.
“The most common symptom seen at our clinic is lameness,” she added.
Lyme disease can be prevented by vaccinating against the disease and by preventing tick bits. There are also products available for the prevention of bits. However the best defence is to keep your pet vaccinated, Graydon stressed.