In December I adopted a rambunctious one-year-old border collie during the finals week of my first semester. Through my time in vet school, I have been presented with so many different animals who need new homes. Saying no is the hardest part, but when the email came across my feed of this adorable ball of energy, I later named Beau, I knew we needed each other.
During our first vet check, we went through the routine physical exam and bloodwork including a Lyme disease test. When the results came back positive for Lyme disease, I was rattled but not surprised. Being from a part of Ohio where Lyme disease isn’t as prevalent as it is in the Blue Ridge Mountains I needed some education and preparation on the matter.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne bacterial disease. It is transmitted by a tick most commonly referred to as the black-legged deer tick. It has been reported in dogs in every state, but there are some geographic areas that it is more prevalent. The bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, likes to hide inside cells, making treatment possible but sometimes difficult to completely eliminate the bacteria.
Though Beau did not have any signs yet, we opted to treat him anyway. He seemed to be as happy as ever and it really was a shame that he became infected at such a young age. He later did start to show symptoms such as joint pain, a common sign of Lyme. As we enter our second round of treatment, I think it is best to express that prevention is key. Checking your dog for ticks after he’s been outside and removing ticks with tweezers is an essential step, as well as tick control products and even talking to your veterinarian about more information.