The Tick and Lyme Disease
Ixodes scapularis is the tick which transmits Lyme disease. As soon as the ground starts to thaw, the tick climbs on a branch and waits for its next victim. Before it attaches itself and feeds on your dog's blood, the tick is very small and nearly invisible. Forty-eight hours later, if it carries Lyme disease, it has already injected the bacteria causing the disease in your dog. Approximately 2 weeks later, the tick will become visible and will often look like a wart. At this point, it will be filled with blood and will fall off to lay its eggs.
According to various studies, 4% to 10% of ticks carry the borrelia bacteria in Québec and the rate rises to nearly 50% in some U.S. states. Fortunately, only 5% of the dogs exposed will develop symptoms of the disease such as:
- limping changing from one leg to another
- loss of appetite.
If there is the slightest doubt, you must consult your veterinarian without delay because the disease leads to arthritis and potentially permanent effects.
Unfortunately for us, Lyme disease also affects humans but unlike dogs, most infected humans will develop symptoms. On the other hand, cats do not get the disease even if they have been infected with the bacteria.
In 2015, 160 human cases were reported in Québec compared to 32 cases in 2011.
Fortunately, there are good preventive products on the market and your veterinarian will help you choose the right one.