Is Your Pet at Risk for Lyme Disease?

April is “Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs” month.  Although cats can get Lyme disease, cases are rarely reported because there’s not a test that can confirm the diagnosis. Also, many times cats will not show any symptoms that are visual to their pet owners.

This is not the case in dogs. We do have a test for Lyme disease and the number of dogs that have tested positive has increased 50% in the last two years for the Northern Virginia area alone.

So, is your dog at risk? Depending on the answers to these five questions will determine the answer:

  1. Is your dog mostly inside and not very active when outside (limited outdoor access & regularly walks on leash)?
  2. Are you applying a tick preventative each month to your pet dogs and cats?
  3. Do you take your dog to a Veterinarian every year for a tick-borne disease (e.g., Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, etc.) screening?
  4. Has your dog been vaccinated against Lyme disease?
  5. Does your dog stay home every time you travel?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, your dog is at greater risk for Lyme disease. To minimize these risks, we offer the following Health Tips:

  • There are numerous products and medications available to keep ticks off your pet. At Aldie Vet, we suggest putting a topical medication (Frontline) on your pet, including your pet cats, every 30 days.
  • Because most vector-borne disease infections show few if any early signs, comprehensive annual testing is the only way to know for sure if your dog has been exposed. In addition, no preventive or vaccine is 100% effective, which makes annual checkups even more important to your pet’s health. Vector-borne disease testing is fast and easy on your dog. At Aldie Vet, ours screens for three separate tick-borne diseases in one test.
  • Another preventative service Aldie Vet recommends is to vaccinate your healthy dog every year for Lyme disease.
  • When you travel with your pet to different areas, be aware that they can be exposed to different ticks and diseases than those found near your home. Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s Parasite Prevalence Maps before you travel.

If your pet does test positive for Lyme or another tick-borne disease, Aldie Vet will determine the individual treatment program that’s best for your pet’s health.