Lyme Disease Prevention

What is Lyme disease?

  • An infection in dogs and people due to a spirochete (kind of small bacteria).
  • Transmitted by ticks from deer and other wildlife reservoirs to people, dogs, and other susceptible species.
  • Ticks need to be attached for over 12 hours to transmit the disease.

How do I know if my dog already has Lyme disease?

  • Early symptoms include elevated temperature, lameness, and lethargy.
  • Later symptoms are vaguer like seizures, kidney and other organ failure. This phase is more difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Blood tests specific for Lyme disease confirm your dog’s exposure to the spirochete.

Can Lyme disease be treated?

  • YES, especially in the early phase, with a course of antibiotics specific for the Lyme spirochete.
  • However, due to the difficulty in properly diagnosing Lyme disease and the expense associated with testing, many cases are in the late phase before treatment starts. This phase is less responsive to antibiotic treatment.

Is my dog at risk for Lyme disease?

  • YES!  In the last decade, RWS has diagnosed several cases of Lyme disease each year. Some of these dogs live right here in the city of Prior Lake and had NOT traveled outside the city for over a year.
  • The disease is very prevalent in many areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin, where many owners have cottages and lake homes.
  • The ticks that transmit Lyme disease are very small and difficult to see on any dog, independent of the density of their hair coat.

How can we prevent Lyme disease in my dog?

  • Use a tick control that will assure tick detachment in less than 12 hours. We recommend topical tick control. Frontline and Vectra are excellent options. These are a great choice for many dogs that swim regularly and are guaranteed as preventatives for Lyme disease.
  • Lyme vaccination is also a safe and effective form of preventing clinical signs of the disease. Vaccination will not kill ticks nor prevent them from attaching to your pet.