You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Lyme disease lately. In 2015, musician Avril Lavigne, was featured on the cover of People magazine alongside the quote “I thought I was dying.” The article went on to discuss the musician’s ongoing battle with the illness, which had left her completely bedridden for months.
Lyme disease is a lot more serious that many of us may realize, and it also poses a significant threat to our four-legged friends. Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete bacteria which is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. When the infection leads to disease in dogs and cats, the animals can experience a host of symptoms including inflammation of the joints (which can lead to lameness), lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, a stiff walk with an arched back, swollen lymph nodes, heart abnormalities and severe kidney disease (Lyme nephritis). If your pets are diagnosed with Lyme disease, they will be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are generally effective in treating the joint disease but the kidney and heart diseases have poorer outcomes.
It’s also important to remember that outdoor pets can carry ticks directly into our homes and into the vicinities of our two-legged loved ones. Some ticks are easily visible and others can be as small as poppy seeds, which can make detection, and early treatment a challenge. When Lyme disease is caught early, there is a much greater likelihood that it can be treated successfully, but once the disease has been in a host’s system for a significant amount of time, it can be incredibly difficult to treat and almost impossible to eradicate.
While many may associate ticks with heavily wooded areas, the reality is that dog ticks have been found in abundance in all five boroughs of New York City. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures that can be taken to keep our pets tick-free. It is recommended that dogs use two forms of tick prevention; namely oral (Nexgard) or topical (Frontline), in addition to a tick collar (Preventic or Scalibor). When used in conjunction, these preventative measures are extremely effective and can keep your pets free from ticks and tick-borne diseases.
May is Lyme disease awareness month, and to encourage tick prevention for the summer months, the Animal Hospitals at Bideawee are offering 50% off Preventic Collar ($15) with the purchase of 3 months of Nexgard or Frontline, as well as discounted tick and heartworm testing (regular value of $78 for Accuplex or 4Dx test) for only $50 with any office visit. Call 866-262-8133 to make your appointment today.
Melissa Treuman is director of communication at Bideawee