Ticks are big news in the state of Ohio. Ticks carry many diseases including Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, but Lyme disease is causing a great deal of concern lately. Although the state was not considered a Lyme disease endemic state in past years, that is changing. In 2011 the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase in the black legged tick population that is more than 60 times higher than in 2010. Coshocton County is now considered endemic for Lyme disease. With this species of tick being the primary carrier of the disease, it is expected there will be a sharp increase in Lyme disease cases.
If your dog becomes infected, symptoms appear anywhere from 1 week to 2-5 months after the tick has attached. These symptoms may include increased drinking/urination, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and/or lameness. If you feel your pet may be infected, diagnosis can be done with a simple in house blood test (the annual heartworm test now checks for Lyme disease), and treatment is not only safe, but relatively effective. If your dog is left untreated long term, however, the disease becomes more difficult to cure completely, with chronic arthritis and chronic kidney disease being possible outcomes. Not all dogs that test positive go on to develop clinical disease.
There are ways to prevent Lyme disease in your dog. First, there is a highly affective annual vaccine available. Second, it is important to have your pet on a monthly tick prevention product. Different products are available for varying situations of exposure. Some research indicates a tick must be attached for about 24 hours to transmit disease. Third, check your pets over regularly for any ticks and detach any found as soon as possible. By taking these simple precautions, your dog can be protected from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
Sources: Ohio Department of Health, lyme-disease-info.com