Lyme Disease is an infectious tick-borne disease that is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick. You or someone you know may have even tested positive for Lyme Disease, but did you know that your furry friend is just as at-risk for exposure to this dangerous disease? Luckily, cats are not at risk for aquring Lyme Disease, however their canine counterparts are. Research indicates that 1 in 7 dogs in the Roanoke Valley have tested positive for Lyme Disease and that number is likely growing. So what can you do to protect your dog? There are a few things that we recommend for dogs in our area.
1. Using year-round flea/tick prevention. There is a misconception that ticks are not a concern during the wintertime, however ticks are indeed a year-round pest and in order for your pet to be protected, year-round flea and tick prevention is recommended. There are several different products available right now. Frontline Plus, a topical flea and tick medication, is a liquid applied between the shoulder blades that lasts for approximately one month. Bravecto, a chewable flea/tick preventative, is our personal favorite right now. Bravecto is given only once every 3 months by mouth and therefore doesn’t wash off or loose efficacy if your pet gets wet.
2. Vaccinating for Lyme Disease. While there is no vaccination for people, there is a vaccine for your canine companion. The initial vaccination must be boostered approximately 3 weeks after it is first given and then becomes a yearly vaccination. It is a highly efficacious vaccine.
3. Testing for tick-borne diseases yearly. The annual bloodwork that we recommend includes a Snap 4dx, which will test for Heartworms, but also Lyme Disease and two other tick-borne disease – Ehrlichia Canis and Anaplasma. If your dog has tests positive for Lyme Disease, our staff will discuss treatment options with you and determine what the best course of action is for your pet.