Lyme Disease: Protect Your Pet, Know the Risks

Lyme disease, also called Borreliosis, is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia bacteria. The disease is transmitted to humans and animals from the bite of an affected tick. A tick first picks up the bacteria by attaching to infected animals like deer, mice, or birds. The black-legged tick, aka deer tick, is the tick that commonly carries and spreads the Borrelia bacteria, which is responsible for Lyme disease. Learn how ticks spread disease from the CDC. Ticks are found in forests or grassy, wooded areas near marshes, rivers, lakes, or oceans. Deer ticks live in moist, shady areas near ground level and cling to tall grass and brush.

Symptoms and Treatment of Lyme Disease in Dogs & Cats

Black-legged tick. Photo courtesy CDC.

The warning signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and cats can vary. Symptoms can appear months after a tick bite, may be vague, and often mimic other diseases, leading to difficult or a potential misdiagnosis. Lyme infections can affect the kidneys, nervous system, and heart if left untreated. Veterinarians can take an antibody blood test to show whether an animal has been exposed to the Borrelia bacteria and help determine an appropriate treatment. Common signs include:

  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat Lyme infections in dogs and cats. Some animals may require more than one round of treatment to lessen signs of infection. Antibiotics may not eliminate the infection completely, which can lead to symptom flare-ups or permanent conditions.

Is my Dog or Cat at Risk of Lyme Disease?

Animals that spend time outdoors, especially in tick-infested areas, have a higher risk of exposure. Both people and animals may be bitten by ticks during outdoor activities or even while spending time in their own backyards. View forecasts for Lyme Disease in your area.

Lyme Disease Prevention for Dogs and Cats

The best way to protect your pet from disease is to avoid ticks and take precautionary steps. Start by using a reliable tick-preventative product for your pet. Fortunately, there are highly effective preventative products for both cats and dogs. Preventatives must be used consistently to provide effective long-term tick control. It is best to talk with your veterinarian about which one is right for your pet and your area of the country. It is important that the product you use repels the types of ticks in your area. If you live in a climate with freezing temperatures, don’t be fooled; ticks can hibernate over the winter.

If you spend time outdoors, it is important to find and remove any ticks on you or your pet as soon as possible. The longer a tick stays attached, the more likely it is to transmit disease. Pets can bring Lyme-infected ticks into the house, which can then attach to other animals and people, spreading the disease.

How To Check Your Pet For Ticks:

Run your hands slowly over your dog or cat’s entire body, feeling for bumps or lumps. Ticks can be very small and hide inside ears, between toes, under the tail and collar, and in the armpit and groin areas. Don’t forget to check yourself too!

Additional Tips to Avoid Ticks

  • Vaccination. Preventative vaccines are available for dogs. Ask your veterinarian whether a Lyme disease vaccination is appropriate for your dog.
  • Keep lawns, shrubs, brush, and trees trimmed to help reduce tick populations.
  • Keep woodpiles neatly stacked and remove leaf piles.
  • Place a 3 ft barrier of wood chips or gravel between yards and wooded areas to prevent tick migration.
  • Consider a pesticide application to control an infestation. Use caution with pets.

Lyme Disease Risk to Humans

Dogs and cats cannot directly transmit this disease to humans. Because people and their pets are often together outdoors and indoors, a Lyme disease diagnosis for your pet could warn you to consult a physician. Additionally, dogs and cats may bring infected ticks into the household, which can attach to another animal or person and transmit disease. Learn more about Lyme disease in humans at CDC or Lyme

VetRxDirect carries a large selection of tick preventatives for dogs and cats including topicals, oral medications, collars, shampoos, sprays, and products for the home. Visit our website for more information and check out a few we’ve listed below!

Tick Prevention For Cats

Effipro Plus for CatsEffipro Plus is a topical treatment for cats that kills all stages of fleas and ticks including deer ticks, brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, and lone star ticks. It also kills chewing lice and repels mosquitoes that can carry heartworms. Apply Effipro Plus once a month for long-lasting, waterproof protection.




Bravecto for Cats at VetRxDirectBravecto is a prescription strength topical just for cats. Bravecto gives your cat protection against fleas and black-legged ticks (deer ticks) for 12 weeks,and dog ticks for 8 weeks. It contains fluralaner as a long-acting insecticide to not only kill but also help break the life cycle. Bravecto is also designed to eliminate fleas in as little as 8 hours.




Tick Prevention For Dogs

NexGard at VetRxDirectNexGard is a prescription, chewable flea and tick preventative for dogs contains afoxolaner It kills adult fleas, black-legged tick, American dog tick, Lone Star tick, and brown dog tick. NexGard is formulated to give protection for 30 days and is FDA Approved to Prevent Lyme Disease




Effitix Plus at VetRxDirectEffitix Plus is a broad spectrum topical for dogs. It kills and repels all life stages of fleas and ticks including brown dog ticks, deer ticks, lone star ticks, and American dog ticks. Effitix Plus also repels and kills mosquitoes that may carry heartworm, repels biting flies, kills lice, and helps control sarcoptic mange.




This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and is purely educational. Please seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian with any questions regarding your pet’s health.

Common Digestive Problems and Treatments In Dogs

Healthy digestion is essential for your dog to be able to use nutrients from their food and obtain energy. Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases affect a dog’s stomach, intestines, and the passage of food through the digestive tract. These diseases can cause pain, malabsorption of food, and many other problems for dogs. Digestive upsets may be as simple as a dog developing an intolerance to food or eating garbage, to something more severe, such as bacterial or viral infections and the presence of chronic disease. Changes in diet, food allergies, stress, internal parasites, ingestion of a foreign object or toxin, and drug therapy are also common causes for GI diseases. We’ve put together a list of some common digestive disorders in dogs, including warning signs to look out for and treatment options.


Acute gastritis occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed or injured. It can be caused by diet (changes in diet, food allergy, food intolerance, and spoiled food), infections, other diseases, or ingestion of foreign objects or toxins (drugs, chemicals, or plants). Common warning signs of dogs with gastritis include sudden vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, and abdominal pain.

Diarrhea & Vomiting

Acute diarrhea can be caused by a change of diet, ingestion of toxins, prescription medications, infections, or stressful situations that disturb the healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Allergic food reactions, dietary sensitivities, and intolerances are also common triggers of diarrhea for dogs. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of a variety of other diseases. Acute vomiting can be caused by ingestion of irritating substances, prescription drug therapy, and toxins. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be caused by many other disorders including diseases outside the digestive system.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic disorders that cause inflammation of the digestive tract. Persistent inflammation can lead to damage, thickening, and changing of the intestinal lining. The exact cause of IBD is unknown and can affect all ages and types of dogs. Some forms of IBD are prevalent in certain dog breeds and excessive allergic reactions to food, drugs, and intestinal parasites are thought to be contributors. Weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in appetite are common warning signs of dogs with IBD.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disease caused by insufficient production and secretion of digestive enzymes by the pancreas. Lack of pancreatic digestive enzymes leads to problems with digestion and absorption of nutrients from the diet. Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to develop this disorder, although it can occur in any breed. Weight loss, increased appetite, vitamin deficiencies, flatulence, and diarrhea are common warning signs of dogs with EPI.


Pancreatitis is a disease caused by inflammation or infection of the pancreas, and can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Pancreatitis can develop when digestive enzymes are activated inside the pancreas, rather than in the intestinal tract. The enzymes begin to digest the pancreas itself, causing damage within the pancreas. Dogs with high-fat diets, or dogs that eat trash, large amounts of table scraps, or other inappropriate food are more at risk for developing pancreatitis. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration, weakness, and loss of appetite are common warning signs of dogs with pancreatitis.


If you have concerns about your dog’s digestion, it is important to speak with your veterinarian so they may determine the exact cause of your dog’s problem. Treatments for GI diseases vary and may include a combination of prescription medications, stress management, nutraceuticals, or probiotic supplementation. Because diet plays a significant role in GI health, your veterinarian may recommend a specific type of diet, such as low fat, low residue, high fiber, or hypoallergenic. Learn more about the Types of Gastrointestinal Diets.

Therapeutic Diets

Your veterinarian may prescribe a therapeutic diet to help manage your dog’s digestion.  Hydrolyzed and novel protein diets are two common types. Hydrolyzed protein diets have a source of protein with a low molecular weight to help reduce the chance of adverse reactions. Novel protein diets use an uncommon or unique type of dietary protein the dog has not been exposed to in order to lessen the chance of allergic response. Learn more about therapeutic diets.

Liquid Diets

Liquid nutrition may be recommended for dogs with a chronic condition or those recovering from a short term illness. Liquid diets can give the digestive system a chance to rest and help prevent dehydration. These diets should be monitored closely by a veterinarian. It is important that liquid diets contain appropriate ingredients for your dog and meet their nutritional requirements.


Probiotics promote overall gut health, support the protective layers of the bowel, and aid with digestion. Probiotics may help with digestive disorders by encouraging the natural gut microflora, and competing with pathogenic microorganisms.


All treatments should be monitored closely by your veterinarian.VetRxDirect carries a large selection of products for dogs with GI needs. Check out our website for more information.



Emeraid Sustain at VetRxDirectEmeraid Sustain is a liquid diet formula for dogs recovering from illness. This highly digestible diet provides high energy and long-term nutritional support for dogs recovering from illness, surgery, chronic disease, malabsorption, and digestive disorders. Emeraid Sustain can also be used to transition dogs from intensive care diets to regular food, and support underweight dogs. 



Emeraid Intensive Care at VetRxDirectEmeraid Intensive Care is a prescription, liquid diet for dogs with critical or chronic illness. Emeraid Intensive Care contains smaller sized nutrients and easily absorbable ingredients. This highly digestible diet provides maintenance nutrition for dogs recovering from critical or chronic disease, malabsorption, and digestive disorders.



Visbiome at VetRxDirect

Visbiome is a high potency probiotic formula for dogs. Made with 8 concentrated strains of live bacteria, each dose of Visbiome contains 112.5 billion bacteria to help establish and maintain the balance of natural flora in the gastrointestinal tract. Visbiome may reduce loose stools and help manage dogs with inflammatory bowel disease. Visbiome Vet is a Non-GMO and Gluten Free formula.



Visbiome Vet Probiotic for Dogs Visbiome Unflavored is a human product available for large dogs. Each sachet contains 450 billion live probiotic bacteria, equivalent to 4 capsules of Visbiome Vet. This product may be recommended for dogs over 60 lbs or animals requiring higher doses of Visbiome. It also offers a cost-effective option for dogs taking Visbiome for prolonged periods of time.



Blue Natural HF at VetRxDirectBlue Natural HF Hydrolyzed Veterinary Diet features hydrolyzed salmon, a novel protein with low molecular weight, to help reduce the chance of adverse reactions. Blue Natural HFcontains easily digestible ingredients and provides balanced nutrition for dogs. This diet does not contain grains, by-product meals, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.