Emma Hammett A qualified nurse, author and first aid trainer with over 30 years’ healthcare and teaching experience All dog walkers should be aware of the dangers of a serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease, which is passed on by ticks to them and their dog. Dogs, cats and humans can all get Lyme disease.
All dog walkers should be
aware of the dangers of a serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease,
which is passed on by ticks to them and their dog.
Dogs, cats and humans can all
get Lyme disease. Although it’s uncommon in cats and less serious in dogs, in
humans it can be extremely serious, debilitating, life changing and in very
rare cases can prove fatal.
Ticks are spider-like small
parasites that bite into the skin and suck blood from other animals, including
Initially they are extremely
small, but swell as they eat, eventually becoming pea sized and therefore
easier to spot and remove.
are active throughout the year. However, you are most likely spot them between
spring and autumn.
are tiny creatures that live in woodland and areas of long grass. They are
particularly prevalent if there are deer and other wildlife.
don’t fly or jump like fleas do. Instead they climb or drop on you or on your
pet’s coat as they brush past whatever the tick is sitting on.
When using a tick remover,
you should insert under the tick and rotate 360 degrees. The aim is to entirely
remove the tick and its mouthparts from yourself or your pet.
Tick removal methods to avoid Never
burn the tick off or try and use chemicals or lotions to kill it.
Do keep the tick in a
container to show to the veterinary or medical professionals so they can ensure
has been removed entirely.
Lyme disease in humans: Lyme disease is a serious illness in humans,
characterised by flu like symptoms, lethargy and aches and pains. 50% of people
with Lyme disease develop a classic bulls eye type rash, which can appear on
any part of the body and not necessarily where they were bitten.
Severe long-term problems If Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated quickly it is
possible to make a full recovery, however it can cause paralysis, arthritis,
meningitis and severe long-term problems.
Lyme disease in dogs: it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. Furthermore,
the initial symptoms differ too, as they don’t display the same ‘bullseye’
rash. As a result, you may now know that your pet is affected until they attend
the vet with some other problem.
symptoms of Lyme disease with cats and dogs include:
Loss of appetite
Swollen and painful joints
Swollen lymph nodes
If your dog displays any of
these symptoms, please visit your vet as soon as possible.
Cover up with long trousers
and socks when walking in woodland and long grass and always check yourself,
your clothes and your dog for ticks on your return.
Get into the habit of
checking for ticks on a daily basis. If
you find them learn how to remove them properly to prevent infection.
You can also use a treatment
to stop ticks from biting your pet. The treatment works by either killing or
repelling the tick if they attach. They come in tablet form or spot on
Treatment for Lyme disease
Early detection is key. If
caught early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Therefore, if you
think your dog or cat has Lyme disease, contact your vet who can run tests and
start treatment if necessary.