Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is transmitted through tick bites and affects both animals and humans. Since both humans and animals can get Lyme disease, it is referred to as a zoonotic disease. The bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), is primarily carried and transmitted by the tiny, black-legged deer tick. The disease can be difficult to detect and can cause recurring and chronic health problems. This is why it is important to prevent tick bites and if appropriate, vaccinate against the disease.
How to prevent Lyme disease:
- Use reliable tick-preventative products on your pet monthly. Discuss which tick preventative product is appropriate to use for your pet with your veterinarian.
- Discuss with your veterinarian whether vaccination against Lyme disease is appropriate for your dog. Your veterinarian’s recommendation may depend on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and overall health.
- Avoid areas where ticks may be found. These include wooded areas and tall, grassy areas. If you go into an area where ticks may be found, remember to check your dog and yourself for ticks.
- If ticks are found on you or your dog, use proper methods to remove the tick.
- Keep areas around your yard free of shrubbery or tall grass.
As stated above, there are preventative Lyme disease vaccines available, but they may not be recommended for every dog. Please discuss with your veterinarian if vaccination is right for you. If your veterinarian recommends vaccination against Lyme disease, the typical protocol includes an initial vaccination followed by a booster vaccination 2 to 4 weeks later. Annual vaccines are recommended for continued protection.