A quick, 8 minute blood test can determine if your pet has been exposed to the tick borne diseases Lyme, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia. It will also detect the presence of Heartworm disease.
Lyme disease can be contracted when an infected tick, especially a deer tick, bites your dog. The disease can cause lameness, fever, swollen joints, kidney failure, anorexia or general lethargy or “not him/herself”. This test is a screening test to see if your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease. It does not mean that your dog has it. If your dog tests positive, we recommend that you monitor for clinical signs (above) and bring in a urine sample to check for protein. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause damage to joints and, in rare cases, causes fatal kidney disease. Lyme disease can be prevented by vaccination and is treated with antibiotics. This disease is very common in our area.
Anaplasmosis is also carried by ticks, especially the deer tick. A bite from an infected tick can cause lethargy, high fever, swollen joints, loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea. Untreated anaplasmosis can cause chronic joint pain and rarely, neurological signs. Anaplasmosis is also treated with antibiotics. Anaplasmosis is not very common in our area, but it is increasing in prevalence.
Ehrlichiosis is carried by the brown dog tick and a bite from an infected tick can infect your dog. Symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, fever, painful joints, bloody nose and pale gums. Permanent blindness, autoimmune diseases, bleeding complications and death can occur, if untreated. Antibiotics are used to treatment the infection. Ehrlichiosis is not very common in our area, but it is increasing in prevalence.
Mosquitoes transfer heartworm larvae from an infected dog to your dog. Larvae develop into worms that live in the heart and its vessels. There are no symptoms at first but as the disease progresses it can cause mild, persistent cough, exercise intolerance, reduced appetite and weight loss, eventually leading to heart failure, lung disease and sudden death. Heartworm infection can be treated, but it is much easier to prevent it an annual negative test, followed by monthly preventatives during the year. Heartworm disease is not very common in our area but people moving into Watertown and surrounding areas may bring it with them.