Fruit Valley Veterinary Clinic

Lyme Disease

Ticks - Lyme disease is increasing in Oswego. In areas like New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island, many dogs will test positive for exposure to the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, but relatively few actually have the clinical disease.

Ticks should be removed promptly after detection. They should be removed by grasping close to the skin at the head/neck region of the tick without compressing the blood-filled body. Squeezing the body can inject the dog/cat with contaminated blood from the tick. Special tweezers and devices are available to help remove ticks easily. Gently wash the tick wound with water. DO NOT use wacky techniques like smothering the attached tick with vaseline, gasoline or alcohol. Swift mechanical removal is best.

If your pet is going into a tick-infested area, there are products available to repel or kill ticks. However, these products take time to act on the ticks and it is recommended that the pet be checked frequently for ticks and that they be removed promptly as described above.

Ticks may be seen throughout the year, sometimes even on winter days when there is no snow on the ground. We see the most ticks in the spring and the fall.

Blood tests can detect antibody to the Lyme bacteria, indicating past exposure. There are vaccines to reduce the chances of Lyme disease in dogs. Lyme disease is not seen in cats. However there are other tickborne diseases besides Lyme disease that can affect dogs and cats.

Vaccines are available which may reduce the risk of Lyme disease in dogs. Their effectiveness is somewhat controversial.