If you recently got your first puppy, you need to understand where Lyme disease is prevalent, how it is spread, and how you can prevent your dog from contracting Lyme disease.
Where Lyme Disease Is Generally Found
Lyme disease is found more in certain regions than it is in other regions. In the recent past, Lyme disease has been extremely common in the mid-west and the northeast and has been present in these areas for a while.
The top four states where over half of all Lyme disease cases are reported are: New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The other eleven states that make up the majority of the remaining reports of Lyme disease include: Connecticut, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Wisconsin, Virginia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, and Illinois.
If you live in one of the states listed above, you need to be especially vigilant about watching out for Lyme disease. However, it is important to note that Lyme disease cases have been reported in all fifty states, so living outside of the states above does not mean you don't need to be aware of Lyme disease and the effects it can have on your dog.
How Lyme Disease Is Spread
Lyme disease is transferred through contacts with a tick that is carrying the disease. Lyme disease is found inside of an infected tick's salivary glands, as well as in their gut. When an infected tick tries to suck blood out of its victim, be it human or dog, Lyme disease is transferred into the victims' blood stream.
Protecting Against Lyme Disease
There are numerous ways that you can protect your dog against Lyme disease, especially if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. One of the best ways to protect your dog is through a canine Lyme disease vaccination. The vaccination that your puppy get depends on where you live; different versions of Lyme disease are more prevalent in different areas of the country, so the vaccinations offered vary throughout the United States. If you move, it is important that you check with your new vet to see if your dog's previous Lyme disease vaccination will protect your dog where you live now; your dog may need to get another vaccination.
You can also take additional steps to protect your dog from Lyme disease. Since Lyme disease is transmitted through ticks, you can treat your dog with either an internal or topical tick and flea treatment to word off ticks. You can also spray tick killer around your front and back yard to cut down on the tick population in the areas where your dog hangs out most. Finally, if you ever do take your dog out in the forest or to a park, be sure to always check your dog for ticks when you leave and immediately remove any ticks you find.
Treatment For Lyme Disease
If you do find a tick on your dog, be sure to take your dog into the vet. Your vet will test your dog for Lyme disease and provide you with doxycycline to treat your dog with. If caught early, Lyme disease can be entirely treatable. Keep in mind that Lyme disease can affect both dogs and humans, so be on the lookout for ticks on yourself as well and seek medical attention if you find yourself feeling off after getting bitten by a tick.