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Dog Days of Summer: What Is Lyme Disease Anyway?

I hope I didn't scare you with those tips on tweezing ticks! Keep in mind that the insects don't actually cause the disease, they merely harbor and transmit the bacteria that cause the disease. Unless you're an expert, or a super savvy ex-science major, the distinction may mean nothing to you. But since I took the time to understand the path from bug to infection, I knew I had to share my shocking finds with you. First off, the disease begins with a miniscule deer tick. This bug passes a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi into the bloodstream of a pet. However, in order for the deer tick to infect a dog with this bacterium, the tick must remain attached to the dog for about 48 hours. So spotting and quickly removing those pests can save a pet's life!

To learn my most surprising discovery,

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Did you know that symptoms of the disease usually don't occur until two to six months after the tick bite?! That means even though your Summer may hold more outdoor adventures, your pup could not become ill 'til it's practically wintertime. Some things to look for include very high fevers (over 103 degrees), swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, lethargy, shifting leg lameness, and inflamed joints. Sounds like something I'm not sure I could diagnose, so the best bet is to take your pooch to a vet if he exhibits any symptoms at all – let the professionals check for these in a physical, and perform a blood test to look for the bacteria! It's better to be safe than sorry!

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