Tick-borne Diseases Lurking in your Backyard

The Northeast is known for prevalence of ticks and the diseases they carry. Below is a little information about the most common diseases here in New York and how you can prevent and test for them.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the deer tick (often referred to as the black-legged tick). Signs of Lyme disease in dogs are difficult to detect, and warning signs may not appear until several months after infection. Signs may come and go and can mimic other conditions. Cases vary from mild to severe. In severe cases of Lyme disease, kidney failure can occur.

Most common signs of Lyme disease:

  • Recurrent arthritis/lameness that lasts 3-4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression
  • Reluctance to move or a stiff, painful gait
  • Swollen joints that are warm to the touch
  • Pain in the legs or throughout the body
  • Fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes

Canine Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bacterium Ehrlichia canis and is transmitted by the brown dog tick. Like Lyme disease in dogs, warning signs may not be readily apparent. If left untreated, the disease progresses to a symptom-free phase, which can last days, months or years.

Mild signs appear to mimic a vague illness, the most obvious sign of which is weight loss. Severe cases of canine ehrlichiosis that go undiagnosed and untreated can end in death.

Most common signs of canine ehrlichiosis:

  • Fever
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Eye disease
  • Retinal bleeding
  • Spontaneous nose bleeds
  • Bruising (petechiae) on gums and belly
  • Swelling of limbs

Screening for these diseases can be done annually with your heartworm test, often at no extra charge. Vaccination for Lyme disease is available as well as we recommend monthly topical protection year round to help protect your pet from these diseases. Lyme and Ehrlichia are treatable if detected early so call your vet and schedule your heartworm and tick disease testing today!

Dr Megan Skeffington, DVM
Lead Doctor
Banfield Pet Hospital

Muttleycrew, LLC (www.muttleycrew.biz), is based in Clifton Park and serves pets and their owners in an area including Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs. Hiring a professional pet-sitter gives you peace of mind, whether you’re on vacation, business travel or just want daily companionship and exercise for your friend. Call today for your free consultation 331-5744. Muttleycrew is fully bonded and insured. We stay home so you don’t have to!