The Ottumwa Courier

March 5, 2014

Increased risk for Lyme disease this summer

Ottumwa Courier

---- — OSKALOOSA — In June 2013, alerts were published regarding the increase in the tick population in southern Iowa and the associated increase of Lyme disease. Now more dogs are starting to show symptoms of Lyme disease. This year, the threat still lingers, and prevention is imperative for your animals in 2014.

Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites, so any dog with tick exposure is at risk for contracting Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lameness, swollen joints, lethargy, decreased appetite and enlarged lymph nodes. It can take up to five months after tick exposure to see visible signs of Lyme disease. Left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause chronic issues with arthritis and lameness.

The best way to prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease, or any tick-borne disease, is to use a tick preventative. There are many options available that include both topical or oral formulations.

In an effort to protect high-risk dogs from being infected with Lyme disease, one should vaccinate their dogs. High-risk dogs include any outdoor dog, hunting dog or dog that spends time going on walks, hikes or other outdoor activities, especially activities that take place in tall uncut grass or wooded areas.

Predictions of Lyme disease cases are especially high again this year, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s (CAPC) annual forecast. With the heightened risk of contracting Lyme disease, it is imperative to protect pets this summer.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.