It is important to first know that lyme’s disease will generally declare itself about 4 to 6 months following the removal of an infected tick! Therefore, an animal might show signs of lyme’s disease in the middle of January, after being bitten by a tick the preceding month of October. An affected animal will show signs of lethargia, loss of appetite, fever and a lamness that might move from one limb to an other. When these signs are recognised, a veterinarian must be consulted as soon as possible. A physical examination can then be performed, as well as blood work that will lead to the diagnosis. Once the disease has been confirmed, a treatment can be started to make your pet better and reduce the risk of long-terme health effects.
If you wish to avoid health issues related with tick-born disease, there are a multitude of preventive products that will either repulse or kill the tick while it is feeding. Your veterinarian will be able to discuss these products with you, and chose the one that is right for your pet. Unfortunatly, none of these products can garanty that you will never see a tick on your animal. Depending on the chosen product, the tick might stay between 12 to 72 hours on your pet. Weather your pet is receiving or not a preventive product, the best thing to do if you see a tick remains to remove it as soon as you see it. There is also a vaccine that exists against Lyme’s diseasde, which may be relevent to administer to your dog, depending on his lifestyle.
An important fact to take into consideration: not only your dog is at risk for tick-born disease. If you found a tick on your pet, that might mean that you have also been exposed to ticks, if you have been in the same environment. In order to limit your chances of finding a tick on yourself, there are different mesures you can take. The most important one is to maintain your environment inadequat for tick survival : keep the grass short and make sure to trim the edges and different bushes in your backyard. While you are at it, take the time to dry out any stagnant puddles that migh accumulate in your yard. If you are an avid hiker, thoroughly inspect your ankles, your toes and your scalp at the end of a hike, to identify and remove any tick as soon as possible. Also do so with your dog. In any case, the important thing is not to panic! Call your vet-team and they will be happy to help you.