This is our third blog post on Dr. Bob Rider’s Sporting Dog First Aid session that was presented at the Lion Country Supply Bird Dog Days Customer Appreciation Event. The topic of this blog post is the treatment and prevention of Lyme disease and heart-worms, two very common threats to our canines. If you missed our first two posts in this series of Sporting Dog First Aid tips check them out, Wound Treatment Tips and Treatment of Bee Stings and Venomous Snake Bites.
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases throughout the United States and Europe. A deer tick capable of transmitting Lyme disease must feed for 36 hours for the actual transmission to occur. If the tick has not actually attached and fed on the host, then the disease transmission has not occurred.
Lyme disease symptoms in dogs include inflammation of the joints that might last for several days and recur again within a few weeks. Dogs infected with Lyme disease can exhibit a stiff walk with an arched back, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, depression and lethargy. It can take several weeks for Lyme disease symptoms to develop from the time of initial infection, so if you recognize any of the above symptoms you should have your dog checked by your veterinarian immediately. If Lyme disease is left untreated, or allowed to reach the later stages of the disease, serious kidney complications could result. Dr. Rider said that in most cases early detected Lyme disease can be successfully treated, but advanced Lyme disease may require repeated treatment and testing. There are several good preventive products available for Lyme disease such as Frontline and Advantix, but these products don’t always provide superior protection, so consider speaking with your vet about a Lyme disease vaccination for even greater protection. Also there is a Lymealyzer Lyme disease test kit for dogs available at Lion Country Supply that within minutes will detect if a tick is infected.
Heart-worms are another potentially serious issue that could affect your dog’s health. Heart-worms begin as a parasitic roundworm transmitted through a mosquito bite. Once entering the bloodstream heart-worms grow into 9” worms that live in the ventricle and heart valves and extend into other vessels. Heart-worms are not a great threat in regions that do not have a great mosquito population, but even in these areas a heart-worm prevention program for your dog is smart because there is risk associated with heavy doses of heart-worm treatment, so Dr. Rider suggests a slower, long-term application as the best method of treatment and prevention.
Products used in heart-worm treatment include Heartguard, Interceptor, and Iverhart Max. Iverhart Max is recommended because it treats both heart-worms and tapeworms. Dr. Rider also gave us a great tip when treating heart-worms. He recommends that dog owners stick with brand name treatments over the generics because many brand name treatments are guaranteed through your veterinarian and the manufacturer.
And remember to always consult your veterinarian before beginning any treatments for your dog.