April 4, 2016 – Vets warn pet owners over debilitating Lyme disease as they reveal staggering 560% rise in 6 years.
The disease, spread by ticks attaching themselves to animals, can cause lifelong issues if untreated.
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Ticks cause a host of illnesses, including Lyme disease, which affects dogs and people alike. A bite from an infected tick can mean tiredness, fever, joint pain, and loss of appetite. Antibiotics generally provide relief from Lyme disease, but relapses can occur. Spot-on tick-control products can kill or repel ticks that carry Lyme disease, as can some tick collars. There is a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, but it’s not always part of a dog’s routine vaccination protocol.
Vets are warning pet owners about the dangers of Lyme disease as the nasty condition has increased a staggering 560% in six years.
The disease, caused by bacteria transmitted by ticks and lice, can cause redness and migraines in humans.
Knowledge about Lyme disease is increasing and it is known to wreck lives.
In extreme cases, the nervous system, joints and heart can be affected, and symptoms may be misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
But if a dog is affected, symptoms can include fever, pain and swelling in the joints, crippling arthritis, nerve damage and even meningitis
The disease, also known as Borreliosis, is transferred to dogs by blood sucking parasites found in woodlands and long grass.
And animal charity the PDSA saw around 100 cases of suspected or confirmed Lyme disease in 2015 – an increase of 560% since 2009, when there were just 15 cases.
Vet Vicki Larkham-Jones, warned that the current figures were likely to be “just the tip of the iceberg” as many cases go unreported.
She said: “These figures are incredibly worrying because Lyme disease can be a very serious, debilitating condition that can cause long-term problems if left untreated.
“Caught early, the disease can usually be effectively treated with long-term antibiotics. However, owners may not even be aware that their animal has been bitten by a tick, so they need to be vigilant.”
With the forecast of increasingly damp winters and hotter summers – ideal conditions for the ticks to thrive – as well as growth in deer numbers, the concern is that the incidence of Lyme disease will rise further.