Summer weather increases the rate of Lyme disease | health
BLUEFIELD – Warm weather that is conducive to ticks and increased numbers of deer and other wildlife carrying them could increase the likelihood of tick-borne Lyme disease in native dogs.
A veterinarian from Veterinary Associates on Cumberland Road in Bluefield said their facility had seen more cases of Lyme disease.
“There has been an increase every year,” said Dr. Virginia McGuire. “Even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has documented it.”
There could be a number of reasons why there are more cases of Lyme disease, she said. Warmer weather during the ticks’ breeding season causes them to multiply. Another possible reason for the rising number of cases is greater numbers of deer, raccoons and other wildlife that harbor ticks.
“Lyme disease in dogs is the same as in humans,” said McGuire. “Lyme disease is a bacterium that is transmitted by ticks. It’s called Borrelia burgdorferi. If they bite and have a meal of blood, they can transmit these Borrelia bacteria and cause an infection. “
Dr. Kelsey Hobson of Princeton’s All Creatures Veterinary Clinic said their facility had “seen a small increase in Lyme-positive cases”. She added that she did not know the exact frequency of these cases but had seen more in recent months.
Dogs infected with Lyme disease don’t always show symptoms, Hobson explained. Sometimes owners learn their dogs have the disease when vets test for it and other diseases.
Hobson said they generally don’t test for Lyme disease unless they see a symptomatic case, which is a sick patient with possible signs that may be due to the disease.
According to McGuire, symptoms such as lethargy and “dislocated leg paralysis,” where one of a dog’s legs becomes lame and the lameness later occurs in another leg, can occur.
Tick control is the best recommendation for preventing Lyme disease, and year-round protection is recommended, Hobson said. Collars like Seresoto’s are one option, and chewable drugs exist.
Year-round use of flea and ticket prevention like collars or oral medication is crucial because even a deer tick bite can lead to infection, but it doesn’t prevent it 100 percent of all cases, McGuire said. A Lyme disease vaccine is available, but neither is a 100 percent preventive option.
Lyme disease occurs primarily in dogs. It has been reported in cats, but veterinarians rarely test for the disease because it’s not common in cats, Hobson said.
When people are infected with Lyme disease, early symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC. 70 to 80 percent of victims get a direct hit or an oval rash. Symptoms can appear three to 30 days after being bitten by a ticket; Symptoms usually appear after seven days.
Later symptoms may include severe headache and stiff neck, more rashes; Facial paralysis; Arthritis with multiple joint pain and swelling; intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones; Palpitations or irregular heartbeat; Dizziness or shortness of breath; and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, according to the CDC.