If you live in an area with ticks, you probably already know how to remove one of the pesky bugs and to watch yourself for the notorious "bullseye" rash afterward. But what precautions do you need to take to protect your dog? Like humans, dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease, and it can have permanent negative side-effects for your pet if contracted. Opting for a voluntary vaccination alongside effective tick prevention measures is the best method to keep your pet safe through even the heaviest tick infestations.
Understanding Lyme Disease In Dogs
When a deer tick passes Lyme disease on to your dog, it can take months for symptoms to appear, and some dogs never show signs of infection at all. You may not notice that anything is wrong until your dog spikes a fever and begins limping because of swollen joints. In other cases, your dog may develop a serious kidney disease in response to the Lyme, though this is relatively rare.
Testing Your Dog Beforehand
Because dogs can carry Lyme disease asymptomatically, your veterinarian will in all likelihood want to run a blood test prior to administering the vaccine. This will prevent needless immunization against a condition that your dog has already been exposed to, as well as prompt the start of treatments for Lyme disease. Even if you do not opt for the vaccine, having this test conducted every year may be a good idea to catch Lyme before it can progress to a more serious form.
Keeping Your Dog Covered
Lyme disease vaccines for dogs are the subject of some debate among veterinarians, because some types of the vaccine do not guarantee protection for your pet. Other versions of the vaccine, however, have been proven to be both safe and effective when it comes to controlling Lyme disease. You can discuss the options with your vet before deciding what vaccine to use for your pet. Your vet may recommend booster shots for Lyme once every year or two, depending on the vaccine in question and the risk for Lyme in your area.
Balancing Vaccinations With Tick Prevention
Vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease should be just one part of your overall tick prevention strategy. Flea and tick prevention collars or droplets should still be used as usual, since these pests can not only carry other disease, but they can also jump ship from your pet to you or your family members. Keeping these bugs off of your pet and immunizing against those that slip through is the safest and most effective way to keep Lyme disease out of your household.
For more information, contact a local animal clinic like Edinburgh Animal Hospital.