Lyme's disease: what is it, and why is it dangerous?
Q: Our Border Collie has been limping and the vet diagnosed Lyme's disease, caught from a tick. We had no idea he had a tick or that it could be dangerous. What can we do to stop it happening again?
A: Spread by bites from certain types of ticks, Lyme's disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Your dog's lameness can be attributed to this debilitating disease, with symptoms usually being fever, loss of appetite or being generally 'off colour'. Lyme's disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics if detected early enough, but if left untreated can result in heart, neurological and arthritic problems in the long term. This and other exotic diseases are becoming more common in the UK as our increasingly warmer climate suits its tick host. It can easily be prevented with regular coat checks and anti-parasitic treatments. As ticks are hardy parasites, some products may not be effective, or may need to be used regularly, to keep your dog tick-free.
Scott Miller, Vet