What does Lyme disease do?
Lyme disease comes from a bacteria found in ticks: Borrelia.
The bacteria enter the bloodstream while the tick is feeding before moving around the body and attacking tissue, usually in the joints or kidneys. Untreated Lyme disease can result in a chronic illness.
What are the signs of Lyme disease?
An owner might notice lameness caused by inflammation in one of their dog’s legs that lasts for several days. It’ll then happen days or even weeks later in a different leg.
How to treat Lyme disease
The infection is easily preventable – there are many treatments that kill attached ticks within 48 hours. Combined flea/worm/tick products can be cost-effective & easier to administer.
Your vet is the best person to ask for a suitable course of action, as more severe cases can require extensive testing and treatment for your pet.
Preventative care is the best action against Lyme disease. Infection can be seasonal as well as regional. Tick-borne diseases are on the increase, so owners should remember to be vigilant and check their dog over thoroughly after walks in high grass.
Only a small percentage of pets develop symptoms of Lyme disease, but they can take weeks too appear.
We recommend routine application of tick treatments from your vet. This could be a ‘spot-on’ treatment that is applied to the skin, a tablet or a tick collar.
How to spot and remove a tick
Common areas for ticks to attach themselves are on the head, ears, belly, groin and armpits.
A feeding tick will look like a skin tag, while a fed tick will look like a baked bean.
Never try to remove a tick by pulling, crushing or squeezing it. This increases the chance of disease transmission, and a part of the tick can stay in your dog. Instead, use a special tick hook, and take it on walks with you.
How to use a tick hook
- Slide the hook under the tick, as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Do not pull.
- Hold the tick firmly inside the hook. If it feels particularly loose, it could be that you need to use a smaller hook.
- Unscrew the tick by turning the hook slowly until you feel it come away from your pet. Do not pull.
- The tick should come away stuck in the hook. Check that it still has its head and that its legs are moving.
- Put the removed tick in a sealed container and dispose with your household waste.
When to contact your vet
If you have successfully removed it, there’s no reason to see a vet if your dog’s well and happy.
If you accidentally leave the head behind, notice any redness or swelling around the bite site or your pet displays symptoms, have them checked by a vet as soon as possible.
Admiral Pet Insurance provides a 24-hour free vet helpline for veterinary advice all year round. Visit www.admiral.com to find out more.