Why should you protect your dog from Lyme disease now?
The tick population throughout the Northeast continues to be a problem with the occurrence of tick-borne diseases and illnesses—such as Lyme disease—being diagnosed in dogs every month. Pennsylvania is in the cross hairs. Without preventive measures to protect your pet, the risk for contracting a tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease is extremely high.
Protection from ticks may be necessary year round due to mild weather conditions during the typically colder months. Warmer temperatures mean we enjoy spending more time outdoors with our dogs.
And ticks don’t just thrive in the woods. They can be found lurking in manicured lawns or simply blowing in the wind, making it easy for your dog to unknowingly pick up a hitchhiking tick on a walk through the neighborhood.
What’s the risk?
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) provides important statistics, on the county level, for the number of dogs diagnosed with various intestinal parasites and tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme. Here are the most recent statistics for Lyme disease in the area:
For January 2021…
Bucks: 1 in 12 dogs tested for Lyme disease came back with a positive result—297 dogs in a single month and that’s before the spring season! The total number of positive cases recorded in Bucks County for 2020 was 3,865.
Montgomery: 1 in 15 dogs tested for Lyme disease came back with a positive result—338 dogs in a single month. The total number of positive cases recorded in Montgomery County for 2020 was 4395.
Prevention is the most cost-effective treatment. The cost and time associated with veterinary care after diagnosis is significantly more than the cost of preventives. Diagnosis requires a comprehensive history and examination, and can also include extensive laboratory testing. Medical treatment can take weeks or months. A full recovery is not always possible. Antibiotics are prescribed, and improvement of symptoms is usually seen within a few days. However, especially with Lyme disease, the disease may cause on-going joint and kidney damage, requiring lengthy medical therapy.
Talk to your veterinarian about your options for preventing tick-borne illnesses and intestinal parasites. Many over-the-counter preventives are not effective at killing ticks before they transmit diseases. Even worse, some over-the-counter products are completely ineffective and dangerous to the pet. Make sure that the preventive you choose is safe and effective.
“The chance of your dog contracting a tick-borne illness or intestinal parasites can be significantly decreased by taking proper preventive measures. There are several effective options for protecting pets, including vaccinations, oral medications and topical treatments. Because pets in our area are at an increased risk for these illnesses, our veterinarians and staff discuss prevention and address client concerns with every exam,” said Dr. Laura Weis, co-owner of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care.
Preventive options include:
- Providing regular doses of topical or oral preventives
- Inspecting your dog’s or cat’s coat for ticks each night, especially if you’ve been in a wooded area or walking through high grasses and brush
- Talking with your veterinarian about identifying ticks, removing ticks and identifying the symptoms of tick-borne diseases
- Vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease
- Annual testing for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases
Call Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care at 215-345-6000 to schedule a comprehensive exam and consultation for your pet. We are happy to discuss preventive options to help protect your pet from tick-borne illnesses and intestinal parasites.