How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, although it can be relatively rare in Louisiana. Here, our vets in Lafayette share information about Lyme disease in pets as well as its symptoms and how to treat it. 

What is Lyme disease?

The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected mammals or rodents such as deer and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them. 

What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?

In our beloved pets, common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from malaise to depression, general discomfort, a lack of appetite or painfully inflamed joints. 

Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.

How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?

If you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease, schedule an appointment with you pet as soon as possible.

During this appointment, your vet will work with you to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history and will conduct a number of tests to provide a clear diagnosis. These can include blood tests, x-rays, uranalysis and fecal exams. We may also have to draw fluid from your pet's affected joints to check for signs of the disease.

What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?

When diagnosed with Lyme disease, we most often treat pets on an outpatient basis. This usually involves a month-0long course of antibiotics, although your pet may also be prescribed pain management medication if they are particularly uncomfortable.

How can I prevent Lyme disease?

Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. 

Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.

Do you suspect your pet has Lyme disease? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at St. Francis Veterinary Hospital today.