Lyme Ticks in Dogs

It's important to know how to identify Lyme ticks since they're known to transmit Lyme disease to dogs. Once dogs contract the disease, they experience severe symptoms of infection and while some symptoms may subside, dogs with Lyme disease often develop several complications that are not easily treated with medication.

Lyme Ticks in Dogs

Although there are several types of ticks that cause Lyme disease in dogs, the most infectious tick is the I. Scapularis, also known as the deer tick. Other ticks that carry the Lyme infection include the Western Black Legged tick, the Black Legged tick and the Lone Star tick. Dogs that live in areas infested with these ticks are at high risk of developing Lyme disease. It's thus important to watch for any symptoms of Lyme disease and routinely check your pet's body for ticks.

Identification of the Deer Tick

Although it's impossible to know which tick carries the Lyme disease, you must know how to differentiate the deer tick from other ticks. The deer tick is very tiny and black in color. It looks like a small speck on your dog's body and easily goes unnoticed. As the deer tick sucks on your pet's blood and grows in size it resembles a grape that's greenish or grayish in color. Ticks that are carriers of the Lyme disease become infected when they feed on other mammals that have the bacteria. The white-footed mouse is the most common carrier that passes on the disease to the deer tick.

Transmission of Lyme disease to Pets

After a deer tick attaches itself to your pet's body it burrows beneath his skin to suck on essential nutrients. It also releases an enzyme into the pet's blood that prevents blood from clotting. If you check your pet's body routinely for ticks, you may be able to pull out the tick before it passes on the infection to your pet. Deer ticks that are removed within 24 to 48 hours after becoming attached to the dog's body are unable to pass on the infection. If you live in an area where tick infection is high, you should also work with your vet to find a safe and effective tick preventive program that's suited to your dog. Most vets will recommend a monthly topical solution that should be applied to the pet's body. Although commercially available tick preventive products don't require a prescription you must consult a vet before administering any medicines to your dog.

Commercially Available Tick Preventives Include:

Treatment Options

If your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, the vet will prescribe antibiotic drugs to kill the bacteria. Doxycycline is one such commonly used antibiotic that's ideal for Lyme disease in its early stage. However, the drug cannot be used in young dogs or elderly pets. Other drugs that are known to help relieve the symptoms of Lyme disease include Amoxicillin, Ceftriaxone, Aspirins and certain steroids. Although steroids are prescribed when Lyme disease is in its advanced stage, pets develop several side effects after taking these drugs.

You have to closely monitor your pet if he is suffering from Lyme disease and also follow up with vet checks. Make sure you also keep your home and surroundings clean to reduce the occurrence of flea or tick infections.