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.

Types of Flea and Tick Treatments Explained

We know that keeping fleas and ticks away from your pets and out of your home is your priority. There are many different options available to help keep these pests away, and it may be tricky to determine which product does what. Your veterinarian can also help you determine exactly which product will best suit your dog or cat. We’ve put together a list of the different types of flea and tick preventatives and how they work.

Bravecto at VetRxDirectTopical Medications

These liquid medications come in a tube applicator and are applied to your dog or cat’s skin. Topicals or “Spot Ons” are usually placed by parting the hair at the base of the neck or between the shoulder blades. Depending on the product, the topical medications work 2 ways. Some absorb through the skin into the bloodstream and kill the pest once they bite. Others spread across the body with the natural skin oils and kill or repel the pest on contact. For dogs or cats that are difficult to give oral medications, topical pest treatments are preferred by owners.


Comfortis at VetRxDirectOral Medications

These medications come in a soft chew or chewable tablet that your dog or cat can eat like a treat. Once given, the medication circulates in the bloodstream, and when a flea or tick bites your dog, it’s exposed to the pesticide and dies. Oral medications may be preferred over topicals for animals who easily take pills. Owners may come in contact with the liquid while applying it or touching their animal.



CM2 Flea and tick shampoo at VetRxDirectShampoos and Dips

Flea and tick shampoos obviously help clean your dog and cat but more importantly help wash away and kill the nasty pests quickly on contact. Shampoos need to sit for a short period of time before rinsing to allow them to work. Some shampoos stay effective for days after a bath but are ideal for short-term treatment only. Dips are used similarly but are left to dry without rinsing, and are very concentrated.



Seresto Collar at VetRxDirectCollars

Flea and tick collars are worn around your dog or cat’s neck and come in adjustable sizes. The collars work against pests by releasing their ingredients over the animal’s skin. Depending on the brand, collars can provide 5-12 months of protection before needing to be replaced. Owners may prefer collars as a “hands-off” approach over administering topical or oral medications.


The Hazards and Nuisance of Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are the most common external parasites on dogs and cats and the most common nuisance for pet owners. They flourish during the warm weather months but easily hitch rides inside and can be a year-round problem.

Fleas Are Biting Machines

Can you believe that just one flea can bite up to 400 times daily? So you can imagine how uncomfortable a flea infestation can be for a dog or cat. Even a few fleas can cause skin problems for your pet and may not be readily observable. Fleas can cause allergic skin reactions in cats and dogs, which may be difficult to tell apart from seasonal allergies. They also carry tapeworm larvae, which can lead to intestinal tapeworm infections. Control of fleas has always been a challenge because only adult fleas live on the pet. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupa live off the pet, outside and in the household.

Ticks: Hardy Disease Carriers

Tick prevention is important because, as we know, they carry various diseases that pose serious health risks. Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ehrlichiosis are the most common. These diseases can be difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible to cure. The goal is to prevent ticks from getting onto your dog or cat. If you live in a climate that experiences yearly freezing temperatures, you may notice ticks become less active or disappear but don’t be fooled, they can hibernate over the winter.

Flea & Tick Prevention

Fortunately, there are lots of effective preventative medications to help control fleas and ticks. It is best to talk with your veterinarian about which one is right for your dog or cat and your area of the country. We stock a full range of flea and tick treatments to keep your dog and cat safe and healthy.

NexGard at VetRxDirect

NexGard for Dogs

NexGard is a prescription, chewable flea and tick preventative. It kills adult fleas and ticks NexGard is formulated to give protection for 30 days and is easy to give with a soft, beef-flavored chew that dogs enjoy.



Provecta Advanced at VetRxDirectProvecta Advanced For Dogs

Provecta Advanced is a 5-way parasite treatment for dogs. It kills and repels ticks, all life stages of fleas, and mosquitoes on contact before they bite. It also repels biting flies and kills chewing lice.



Bravecto for Cats at VetRxDirectBravecto For Cats

Bravecto 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. Bravecto is also designed to help eliminate fleas in as little as 8 hours.





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.