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Lyme's Disease In Pets

May 1, 2008
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that occurs in both animals and humans. It is caused by the transfer of species of bacteria, which belong to the genus of Borrelia, and is thus also called borreliosis. This bacterium is generally transmitted via vectors such as ticks and fleas; and is therefore likely to occur in pets. I know that you probably didn't need another reason to keep your pet free from fleas but that is nevertheless how it is.

How does it affect Your Pet?

Lyme disease can affect different pets in different ways. While some may show reactions such as fever, vomiting, loss of appetite and energy when bitten by the tick, other pets may not show any symptoms. Because symptoms are either not existing or very hard to notice you might think that everything is fine. But if you have a cat or a dog be sure to keep an eye on these symptoms:

Cats

Cats show increased lethargy and fatigue, loss of appetite, eye damage unusual heartbeats and breathing rhythm. It is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian if you believe that something isn't right.

Dogs

Dogs once infected may show signs like cats. However, they also show some neurologic symptoms such as change in behavior especially aggressiveness or fearfulness. They also get a fever. There might be several other reason for a change in your dogs behavior but if it starts to get more aggressive you should contact your vet to make sure everything is alright.

How to protect your pet?

Lyme disease can be prevented. Proper care needs to be taken of the pet to avoid the tick bite. Applying tick-killing chemicals to the animals is a great preventive measure, which you can take. Permethrins and pyrethrins are generally preferred for this, and are available as sprays and dips. However, some animals are found to be sensitive to chemicals that are used for killing ticks. In addition, you must not mix different chemicals, as there could be a reaction, which causes more harm than good.

Protection of the pet can also be done by modifying the environment of the pet. Cutting of grass and trimming the wood in the environment is a good way to reduce the possibility of tick bites for your pets. Treating the environment with insecticides that are targeted to ticks is also a good idea. If you're using strong insecticides make sure you read the label on the product as these things can be rather harmful to both pets and humans.

Examining the pet regularly is also a good way to detect tick bites to treat the pets earlier and manage Lyme disease better. You must do tick-checks regularly on your animal. Use a proper technique for tick removal or get it done by an expert veterinarian. Vaccinations against Lyme disease are available for dogs and should be given to your pet dog. In any case I advise you to talk to your vet because he/she might know exactly what to do when it comes to your pet.
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