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Tick Season is here-help protect your dog from Lyme Disease








Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness and it can be debilitating in humans, but also in dogs..

In humans, often, but not always, one can tell if they have been infected if there appears a “bull’s-eye” rash at the site of the bite.  This does not happen with dogs.  So what are the common symptoms found in dogs with Lyme Disease?

  1. Fever
  2. Swelling in joints or lameness
  3. Swollen lymph nodes
  4. Lethargy
  5. Loss of appetite

It can be a difficult disease to recognize.  Dogs can have Lyme disease organisms for over a year, without showing any symptoms, and when the symptoms appear, the Lyme disease can have spread throughout the entire dog’s body.

What should you do to help prevent your pet from getting Lyme Disease?

  1.  Of course, the obvious is stay away from grassy, wooded, sandy areas.  This does not seem fair to your dog, as most love the out of doors.  In addition,  they can also be found in urban parks and dog parks.  You can do a little research to learn about the ticks and diseases in your area.
  2. If your dog has been outdoors in any of these areas, check thoroughly for ticks.  They are not always easy to find, as they can be as tiny as the head of a pin.  If the tick is moving, that is good as it has not fed yet and easy to remove.
  3. There is a safe and effective vaccine.  It is given twice, at two or three week intervals. You must repeat this vaccination  every year to be effective.
  4. During an annual checkup, you can include a vector-borne disease screening.
  5. Use a tick control product, often it is combined with a flea control. Be sure and read the labels or consult your Vet as some of these applications can be concentrated.  They come in many forms:
  • Spot-on medications
  • Pills that are given once a month
  • Shampoos (a process that needs to be repeated every 2 weeks)
  • Tick Dips
  • Tick Collars.

Even though these can be very effective, it is still important to check your dog after being outdoors, especially if you have been in a woody, grassy or sandy area.

If you do find a tick, protect your fingers and remove with a tick remover or a pair of tweezers.  You must be sure and get the entire tick out, so pull straight, do not twist.

Treatments for your Dog if infected with Lyme-Disease

There are several antibiotics that are available and they are quite effective, especially if caught in the early stages.  The response time to the antibiotic can be within a week.

Educating yourself about ticks and Lyme disease is a great step in keeping your dog healthy so you can both enjoy the great outdoors.

Doggy Hot Spots

When you hear the term “doggy hot spots” we are not talking night clubs for dogs.  Hot spots are areas of the skin that a dog has scratched and licked to the point of irritation. They are also known as acute moist dermatitis. They can be superficial or deep.  Those that are deep are often infected by a bacterium known as staphylococcus intermedius. The hot spot can be from 1-4 inches across and looks swollen. Deep hot spots may secrete pus. Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body and may be in one or more places such as ears or legs.  They tend to happen in the warmer summer months.

Although the exact cause is unknown, a single flea or tick bite may be the culprit. Mites, parasites, skin allergies and diseases can also create hot spots.  They often appear in dogs with heavy coats, such as Golden Retrievers. In these breeds, the irritated area appears just before shedding when moist, dead hair may be matted next to the dog’s skin.  Dogs will itch and scratch and lick the area to the point of bleeding and can cause infection.  The hot spot is very painful to your dog and he is just doing what he can to relieve the pain.

It is best to take your dog to the vet to determine if the hot spot is superficial or deep. Superficial hot spots can be treated by cutting back the hair around the irritated area and using medicated shampoo. A topical treatment may also be recommended. For the deep variety of hot spot, your vet will use a Betadine type of shampoo and you will be given antibiotic cream or powder to apply for about two weeks.  Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed or a one-time corticosteroid injection to relieve the pain and itch.  An Elizabethan collar will sometimes be used to help prevent your dog from going after the treated area.

It is important to keep the irritated area dry. If you take your dog for a swim, you must dry their coat thoroughly to avoid development of a hot spot. Prevention is the best medicine!