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.

How to Get Rid of a Flea Infestation – Preventatives are Not Enough

Just the Facts about Fleas

Flea infestation. Makes your skin crawl doesn’t it? Despite advancements in flea prevention treatment, flea infestations are still a fairly common in homes with dogs or cats.  Part of the problem is misconceptions about flea prevention leave some pet owners vulnerable to these pesky, proliferous pests.

Here’s the truth about three common misconceptions:

“I’m treating my pet for fleas, so my home is protected.”

Many people think treating their pets with flea preventatives like Frontline Plus or Advantix will protect their homes from every flea — or even resolve an existing environmental infestation. They don’t. Topical flea preventatives and collars are designed to project just your pet and only kill the fleas on your pet. Of course, if your pet doesn’t bring home the bugs, preventatives help to reduce the chances of flea infestations in your home and yard.

“All flea preventatives are the same.”

Wrong. There are many different flea preventatives on the market, and knowing the difference makes a difference.  The flea has four stages in its life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Some preventative treatments only kill adult fleas. If you use these alone, the flea life cycle can continue on your pet. Other preventatives contain an insect growth regulator (IGR) that breaks the flea life cycle and stops eggs and larvae from developing. For broad-spectrum protection for your dog or cat, be sure to choose a preventative treatment that contains an IGR.  Ask your pet’s veterinarian about the best flea and tick preventative for your area, then check out VetRxDirect’s wide selection flea preventatives.

“I’ve treated my home so the fleas are all gone.”

If you have a flea infestation, you may want to consult the professionals about the best way to eliminate it completely. There are also plenty of effective “DIY” approaches that you can learn about online. Either way, stopping a flea infestation takes time and diligence; one treatment and thorough house cleaning may not be enough. Flea pupae that are in the cocoon stage are resistant to insecticides so you may continue to see fleas in your home for several weeks after treatment. Continue vacuuming and cleaning, especially in the areas where your pet spends the most time, to control any adult fleas that developed after the treatment. If fleas are still present after about a month, another treatment may be required.

As they say, “prevention is the best medicine.” To avoid flea problems, talk to your veterinarian about the best flea prevention treatment for your dog or cat and use it diligently to keep your pet  — and your home – happy and healthy.

Down with fleas!