Lyme Disease Prevention
Our health focus topic for March is Lyme Disease Awareness and Prevention! Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease, and can have long lasting issues from contracting this disease.
Ticks in our area carry Lyme disease, as well as other nasty blood parasites like Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. Virginia is one of the states on the East Coast with a very high prevalence of Lyme disease.
Unlike humans, dogs very rarely get the “bulls-eye” lesion on their skin after a bite from an infected tick. Some dogs will get an irritated area around a tick bite whether or not the tick is carrying a disease, and others will not react at all.
The disease itself can cause fever, lethargy, achiness and arthritis, and in some cases, even permanent effects on the kidneys. Just because your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease doesn’t mean that he or she will necessary develop these symptoms. However, since some dogs do experience illness, we strongly recommend prevention for EVERY dog in our area.
Lyme infection in dogs is only detected with a blood test. We use a quick, in-hospital test that only requires a few drops of blood to screen for this disease.
Knowing your dog’s status is an important first step in preventing or treating this disease!
If your dog tests positive, our doctors will discuss with you the next options, which could include further testing or medications. If your dog tests negative, he or she is eligible to start the Lyme vaccine series to help prevent future infection!
This month, Elkwood Animal Hospital will offer 10% off Lyme disease vaccination and the testing to start the vaccine!
Additionally, if your dog completes the Lyme vaccination series for the first time, you will be eligible for a FREE gift… your choice of a travel dog water bottle or a light-up, night time safety collar! (while supplies last!)
The Lyme vaccine is an important means to prevent disease in your dog, but tick prevention is ALWAYS the best way to prevent ticks and the many diseases they can transmit. We recommend keeping your dog on tick prevention year round, as our mild climate often means ticks can be active even in the winter months.
Help us protect your dog from Lyme disease this spring!