Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans and some domestic animals by the bite of an infected deer tick.  These ticks are very small in comparison to wood ticks which have white markings on their backs. The deer ticks have a spot which looks like a freckle or a speck of dirt.  Not all people bitten by the deer tick will get the disease, however, if a deer tick is infected, it must be attached for at least 24 hours before it can transmit the bacteria.

There is fatigue, lethargy, joint stiffness, muscle aches, loss of appetite and in people, high fever and chills and, in people these symptoms usually go away but in animals, it can be treated with antibiotics.  However, it is important to check your animals every night when they come inside in an area known to have deer ticks.  I live in northern Minnesota in the summer and we have them there.  I check my dogs every night, VERY carefully.  These little ticks are so small ( size of a pin head) that it takes some time if you are doing more than one or two dogs.  The best advice is to check and re-check yourself and your animals when you are in tick infested areas.

If possible, keep out of tall grasses and consider using a tick repellant on your dogs.  I look for signs of tick bites every night, but if a tick is found there is no need to panic.  The risk of getting a tick-borne disease is small if the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached.

There is a shot that can be given to dogs for Lyme Disease and you could ask your vet about that. I have given the shots for Lyme Disease to my dogs.

Hope this helps a little.
Marilyn Lande,

AVMA on Lyme