is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is spread through the bite of certain ticks and not only infects humans but also dogs. Studies are indicating that the risk of exposure to Lyme disease is emerging in Canada due to our ever-changing climate. In the early 1990’s, there was only one known population of the Lyme carrying tick and this was found at Long Point on the Ontario shore of Lake Erie. Unfortunately, detection of human Lyme cases has led to the discovery of tick populations in southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, southeastern Manitoba and New Brunswick.
are small biting arachnids similar to scorpions, spiders and mites and are found in and around wooded areas. These tiny insects become infected with the Lyme bacterium following a blood meal from mice and birds carrying the disease. Ticks then spread the Lyme bacterium to humans and dogs through a painless bite. If Lyme disease is left untreated, patients may suffer a seriously debilitating disease. Signs include anorexia, lameness, nervous system disorders and rapidly progressing kidney failure. While not only causing severe illness in our pets, dogs can carry infected ticks into our homes and yards, spreading the disease further.
Often the only way of detecting Lyme infection in a dog is through screening blood tests specific to the disease. Early detection of the Lyme bacterium in our pet’s blood can often be easily treated with antibiotics. However if the disease is not detected early enough, treatment can be difficult and costly. Once a negative test has been determined, it is important that your dog starts on an effective tick preventive medication that not only kills the tick but prevents the tick from biting.
Remember, if a tick can bite, it can spread disease!
With the ever-increasing prevalence of tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease, as well as the continual threat of heartworm disease, one simple blood test has been developed that can now detect Lyme disease, heartworm disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia infections. All of these diseases can be fatal and are a real risk to your pet. Medications that help prevent the infection of heartworm and tick borne diseases are available that are safe and easy to administer. Depending on the life style of you and your pet, we can determine which prevention best suits your needs. As with many health considerations, the importance of prevention cannot be overstressed, and these diseases prove no exception.