Inwood Animal Center
At Inwood Animal Center, we are committed to delivering the best available veterinary medicine & are dedicated to serving you and your pet. Our goal is to exceed expectations with each and every interaction we have with our valued clients & beloved patients. We are a full service veterinary medical facility serving the animal healthcare needs of dogs and cats. For more than 40 years our highly skilled, compassionate staff of veterinary professionals have been providing exceptional animal medical care, combined with outstanding boarding & grooming services. We want to become your trusted source for all of your pet’s needs & we look forward to serving you for many years to come!
In an attempt to stay better connected to our clients and to provide better care for our patients, we are pleased to announce that we will be utilizing an automated online client communication system called DemandForce.
What DemandForce offers:
- Allows you, the client, to choose your own communication preference, such as appointment reminders via text/email or both, confirming your own appointments electronically and requesting a preferred appointment day and time online. You can also choose to continue getting reminder calls if you prefer.
- You can receive Annual Care Reminders, Promotions, Newsletters, and Follow-up Satisfaction Surveys. You can opt in or out of any combination of these email communications per your preference.
We assure you that at no time will we provide your information to 3rd parties and the program is 100% HIPAA compliant, respectful of personal privacy, and safe.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a serious illness that primarily affects people and dogs. The disease was named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the first human cases were diagnosed in 1975. It is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria, called Borrelia borgdorferi, which is transferred through tick bites.
Is my pet at risk?
Lyme disease has been diagnosed in people in all 50 states, but more than 80% of human cases have occurred in the eastern states from Massachusetts to Virginia. It is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, and West Virginia has been designated as a “high incidence state” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Lyme disease primarily affects humans and dogs. Any age or breed of dog is at risk.
How is Lyme disease spread?
Lyme disease is spread through the bites of hard-bodied ticks, such as deer ticks. A tick becomes infected with Borrelia after feeding on the blood of an infected animal. Transmission occurs when an infected tick bites an unprotected human or animal, and stays attached for at least 48 hours.
Direct spread of Lyme disease between dogs has not been reported, even when infected and uninfected dogs have lived together for long periods of time.
What are the signs of Lyme disease?
Most people exposed to Borrelia will become sick, but only 5% of dogs ever show signs of infection.
Symptoms typically start to appear about two to five months after the tick bite occurs. The most common sign is lameness due to joint inflammation, and an infected pet may start to walk stiffly or will resist having its legs and joints touched due to pain and swelling. The lameness may shift from one leg to another or even improve for short periods of time, only to return again in a week or two. Many infected dogs don’t have a lot of energy and become less active than usual. Without treatment, long term infection can eventually lead to progressive and permanent joint damage.
Some dogs may also develop a fever and lose interest in eating. Severe infections can attack the kidneys, and quickly progress into renal failure. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Shetland Sheepdogs appear to be more susceptible to these problems than other breeds. Unfortunately, pets that develop these types of complications usually do not survive.
How can I tell if my pet has Lyme disease?
Annual testing is important because the symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to other disorders that cause joint pain and lameness, such as arthritis. Also, many pets can be infected without showing any signs of infection.
Testing can be performed during a regular office visit. Using a small sample of blood, the test will determine if your dog is infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, heartworms, or some of the other common tick-borne diseases (like Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis). If your pet is showing other signs, additional tests to check kidney function and X-rays may be needed to check for complications.
Lyme Disease Continued..
How is Lyme disease treated?
Antibiotics are usually effective in treating the signs of Lyme disease. Treatment must be continued for several weeks, even though clinical signs often improve within just a few days. Pain medication may also be needed to reduce inflammation in the joints.
Some studies suggest that long-term antibiotics may not completely eliminate all of the bacteria, and infected pets can become sick again. Other studies suggest complete clearance of infection is possible. Testing should be repeated six to twelve months after treatment has ended to make sure the infection has cleared.
What can I do to prevent my pet from becoming infected?
Reducing your dog’s exposure to ticks is the key to preventing Lyme disease. Therefore, a good tick control program is critical.
If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, always examine your furry friend for ticks after trips outside, particularly if these trips involve a run in the woods or fields. Prompt removal of ticks reduces the chance that Lyme disease will be transmitted to your dog.
Many excellent commercial products are available that discourage ticks from attaching to your pet. We are happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and will help you decide which product is the best option for your pet.
We also recommend testing and vaccinating your pet every year. Regular testing will help to pick up infections that may not be apparent, and vaccination reduces chances that your dog will become infected if bitten.
If your dog shows signs of lameness or any other of the symptoms of Lyme disease, give us a call. We can perform a thorough examination to put your mind at ease and start treatment immediately, if needed.
What should I do if I find a tick on my dog?
Ticks should be removed quickly, but carefully so that none of the tick’s mouthparts are left in the dog’s skin. You may have heard about a few home removal methods, such as burning the tick off or using petroleum jelly. Unfortunately, neither of these techniques will force the tick to retreat, and burning may also injure your dog.
Instead, follow these steps or give us a call so that we can help you remove the tick safely:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick’s head at the point where it meets your dog’s body. Don’t place the ends of the tweezers around the tick’s body because this could tear the tick in half.
- Slowly and steadily pull the tick out without twisting it. After removal, kill it by placing it in a container with rubbing alcohol.
- Apply a disinfectant on the dog’s skin where the tick was attached. Irritation from the tick’s saliva can cause a small welt to appear, which usually lasts about a week. Let us know if the irritation persists longer.
Knowing the facts about Lyme disease will help you protect your pet. Please contact our clinic if you have any questions or concerns about testing or want to know more about preventing this serious disease.