May is Lyme disease awareness month. Lyme is a tick borne disease that can only be transmitted by the deer tick. It takes 48 hours of tick attachment to transmit the disease. There is no cure for Lyme disease but it can go into a latent or inactive state in the body. Active Lyme disease can be treated with medications if your pet is showing symptoms. The most commonly exhibited symptoms of Lyme Disease are multiple leg lameness, fever and swelling of the joints.
In some severe cases of Lyme disease, kidney disease can develop (most common in chocolate labs.) Though there is not a vaccine for Lyme disease in humans there is one for dogs. The Lyme vaccine for dogs is relatively very affective and even more effective when dogs are on a regular tick prevention. Other tick borne diseases to be concerned about are Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis.
Ehrlichia is a type of bacteria that infects and lives within the white blood cells. It is spread by the bite of a brown dog tick and it is unknown how long the tick must be attached before transmission, this particular tick can also cause other diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Babesiosis. Ehrlichia can wipe out white blood cells in a dog and cause death if not treated. Anaplasmosis is transmitted by a tick commonly called the deer tick, black legged tick or bear tick. With Anaplasmosis there are two different types of infections that can occur that either affect white blood cells or affects platelets. It takes a minimum of 24 hours of attachment for the tick to transmit the disease.
If you have any additional questions regarding ticks and the disease they transmit please call/talk to your local veterinarian.