Supermodel Bella Hadid has been in the news recently because of her battle against Lyme disease. Unfortunately, Bella, her brother, and her mother have all been diagnosed with what is a devastating condition. Per the CDC, ‘The disease takes its name from Lyme, Connecticut, where the full spectrum of illness was first described in 1975.” Decades later, Lyme disease continues to surge in our area. As summer starts to fade, we’d like to remind you that your pets need year-round tick prevention in the Connecticut Shoreline.
Lyme Disease in Cats
While most of the news you hear surrounding Lyme disease is usually specific to humans and dogs, cats too can be infected with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Per this article from Cornell University, “The bacterium enters an animal’s system via the bite of a young tick (nymph) or an adult female tick. In the northern, midwestern, and southern areas of the nation, infection is transmitted primarily by the black-legged tick, otherwise known as the deer tick. On the West Coast, the bacterium is generally carried by a similar parasite, the Western black-legged tick.”
There doesn’t seem to be much research about Lyme disease in cats. Yet, finding a tick on a cat should be a reason for alarm. Not only can your cat become infected, but ticks can also hitch a hike to other members of the family; those at higher risk.
Lyme Disease in Dogs
Lyme disease in dogs is quite common. They definitely take the brunt of Lyme disease infections in the veterinary field. Because dogs are exposed to the outdoors more often, dog owners should be vigilant and dedicated to consistent, year-round prevention.
When you find a tick on your dog, self, or cat, follow these instructions to remove the tick. Then, follow up with your veterinarian and start a course of antibiotics if indicated. Be sure to finish the course unless instructed otherwise. You don’t want to take any risks with Lyme disease.
While there are many tips for how to remove a tick without a tweezer, research shows that removing it as quickly as possible is best. For this reason, avoid suffocation and heat-based removal remedies that take time.
Finally, the Companion Animal Parasite Counsel recommends aggressive prevention in areas where the prevalence of Lyme disease is high. The Connecticut Shoreline qualifies as such. They, therefore, urge veterinarians in these areas to “reinforce their recommendations of aggressive tick control.” Because the spread of Lyme Borreliosis can occur anywhere the tick vector is present, the CAPC encourages vaccinating high-risk patients against Lyme. “Annual testing can aid in assessing risk for dogs in hyper-endemic areas,” they add.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Pets
According to the AVMA, the symptoms of Lyme Disease in pets include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint swelling
- Decreased activity
Even if you have not found a tick on your pet, living in the Connecticut Shoreline is reason enough to contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the above symptoms. They will decide to rule out Lyme disease based on your pet’s lifestyle, risk factors, symptoms, and medical history.
Shoreline’s Best Pet Care
Visit this link and you’ll see that our area is at very high risk for Lyme disease in dogs. For this reason, our team is highly aware of tick bite prevention and management protocols. Should you have any special requests, or concerns, or need recommendations on how to handle ticks in and around your home, we’re happy to help. We, of course, encourage you to discuss your pet’s health and wellness with your veterinarians but are happy to share any ideas we might have to complement their treatments and therapies.
Following are our current Connecticut Shoreline service areas in which we offer in-home dog walking and pet sitting services:
- Old Saybrook
- Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
- Deep River
- Old Lyme
- East Lyme
Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:
- Lyme and Madison
- Waterford, New London, Groton
- Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank