Lyme disease is a valid danger for your Border Collie-Aussie dog, or any dog for that matter.
Lyme disease has been around for at least 90-100 years. It got it’s name from a little town called Lyme, CT, were it was first discovered. It used to be found more on the East Coast of the United States, although now can be in many areas westward due to migration patterns of birds and mammals.
Lyme bacteria is transmitted by a tick bite. The deer tick is specifically targeted as the tick responsible for transmitting the Lyme disease. It usually takes a minimum of 48 hours for a tick to pass the bacteria after attaching to the host animal. So if the tick is discovered and removed within 36-48 hours of attachment, it is likely the dog will not get the disease.
So check your pet after a walk, especially if you have passed through long grassy areas, wooded lots, or even rolling around in the lawn.
The symptoms of Lyme disease can include: tiredness, lethargy, fever, and swollen and /or stiff joints. If left untreated, a painful crippling arthritis or possible fatal kidney disease may develop. If people develop Lyme disease due to a deer tick bite, a “bullseye rash” usually develops at the bite site. This telltale sign does NOT happen with dogs.
There is a test available through your local veterinarian that can be done to determine if your dog has been exposed to the Lyme bacteria. Ask your vet. This test should be considered routine in heavy tick infested areas or where known Lyme disease occurrences have been noted.
If Lyme disease is detected, then a simple regiment of antibiotics may be required to make sure your dog stays healthy and safe.
Prevention is the key to making sure your dog is protected from Lyme disease. Check with your vet as to the best tick control medication or tick preventative medication, be it topical applications, sprays, or collars. Maybe a combination of any or all methods. The other method is a tick vaccination available through your vet for dogs exposed to a high number of ticks on a regular basis.
If you find a tick on your dog, (and you should be checking) the object is to remove the tick as quickly as possible.
How to remove a tick: Use a set of plain or pointed tweezers and get a hold of the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Pull straight up with a steady but even pressure to avoid breaking the head off in the skin. If so, remove head if possible. Otherwise leave it alone and the skin will heal, usually leaving a small bump for a couple weeks. You may need a magnifying glass and good light to see what you need to see.
Lyme disease is a very real disease and has been reported in Southwest Michigan. I myself, had to be treated a couple years ago on Thanksgiving Day (really late for ticks). I had a deer tick buried in my chest. When pulled out it swelled up like half a softball sized lump. Went to the ER and sure enough, when we put the tick under a microscope and compared it to a deer tick picture, they matched. Two potent antibiotic pills and I was done.
That’s my community service for the week. Take your dog for a walk, and then check him for ticks.
Thomas and Kash
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