tickIn North Carolina, the number of dogs testing positive for Lyme Disease is creeping up year by year. If your dog ever goes outside, she’s vulnerable to being bitten by a tick that could transmit bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Here’s what you need to know to protect your dog and your family.

When You Find a Tick. When you come inside, check your dog for ticks, especially around the ears, head, neck, and in between toes. If you find a tick, put on gloves to protect yourself, then take tweezers and pull the tick off as far down to the head as possible.

Symptoms of Lyme are Different. The first clinical sign of Lyme disease in a dog is not a rash, but pain, fever, and lameness. She may also stop eating and be lethargic. If you notice unexplained limping in your dog, we may test him for the bacteria.

If Your Dog Tests Positive. Lyme disease in dogs isn’t nearly so serious as it is in humans. In fact, there are times that we don’t treat it at all. Most of the time, we give a course of an antibiotic, and your dog will begin to feel better in a couple of days.

Lyme Prevention. Remember that not all heartworm and flea medicines prevent ticks! We recommend Vectra or Simparica, which doesn’t prevent tick bites, but causes them to die after they attach to your dog, and prevents them from transmitting Lyme. There is also a Lyme vaccine.

If you’re worried your pet might have Lyme, or if your dog likes to hang out in places that are tick infested, then let’s talk about the options for you and your pet. We’ll start with tick prevention medicines, then talk about other things you can do to reduce the risk of exposure to this danger that is growing each year.