Lyme Disease is spread to house pets, dogs, cats, and humans by a tiny tick called the “deer tick.” The disease is spreading at a rapid rate throughout the U.S.. Cases of the disease in humans have tripled in the past five years and its incidence in dogs may be up to ten times that of humans. There is no vaccine approved to prevent the disease in humans.
Lyme Disease is difficult to diagnose in animals, but there is a blood test that generally can detect the presence of the disease. Established antibiotics, such as the tetracyclines and penicillins, are often effective in treating the disease at an early stage. There is an approved vaccine for dogs. It is given in two doses at a two to three week interval and then yearly as a booster. In Maryland, because the concentration of the tick that carries the disease is so high, it is recommended that all dogs be vaccinated against the disease.
Preventing tick infestation of your pet is also very important. DO NOT USE any human insect repellents on your pet. These are lethal to pets and cause convulsions and death. We recommend the use of the following.
For dogs, use the PREVENTIC COLLAR (amitraz) in combination with Frontline (fipronil) Spray. The initial dose of Frontline for tick prevention is two sprays per pound of body weight. According to the manufacturer, once the spray has been applied, it may be possible to follow up with Frontline Top Spot, a topical product applied monthly and placed between the animal’s shoulders, or, you may continue to use the spray.
For cats, do not use the collar as it is toxic. We recommend only the use of the Frontline Spray, two sprays per pound initially, then using Frontline TopSpot or continuing with the spray.
Keys to preventing Lyme Disease from striking your pet:
- Prevent tick infestation with appropriate tick control products.
- Check your pets for ticks whenever they have been outdoors.