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Lyme Disease Prevention Month

Spring has sprung, and with it come the bugs that were in the middle of a deep freeze just a few weeks ago.

The most common types of bugs we see bothering our furry friends are fleas and ticks.

While fleas can be annoying and cause a lot of skin irritation, ticks can cause more severe problems and spread several types of diseases.

Lyme disease is a bacteria spread by blacklegged ticks such as deer ticks. Just a few years ago, it was really only found on the east coast, but the disease is marching quickly west, and now we do see it in Ohio. Here at Summit Animal Hospital, we've already had two cases of Lyme in dogs this year.

Lyme disease in dogs causes lameness, soreness, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and fevers. In some dogs, it doesn't cause symptoms. Some dogs develop permanent kidney issues or neurologic issues from Lyme infections. Lyme disease can be treated with four weeks of an antibiotic, and some animals require two rounds to clear the infections or treatment for other side effects of Lyme.

The best prevention for Lyme is to prevent tick bites. In this area, many of the topical preventatives don't work very well in killing all species of tick. We've had our best luck with oral preventatives like Bravecto, which lasts three months. After a dog has been outside, especially in tall grass or in the woods, they should be checked all over for ticks and ticks should be promptly removed, but the oral preventatives will kill any ticks not found by the owner and cause them to die before they can transmit Lyme disease.

There are vaccinations for Lyme disease, but many of them are not super effective and they are not considered part of a core vaccine program. We do not currently offer Lyme vaccines at Summit Animal Hospital, but any clients with questions about the vaccine are welcome to ask.

Happy hiking this summer, and stay safe by preventing tick bites!

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