Lyme disease


Mouth of tick

Strong but painless bite

An infected Ixodes tick (deer tick) transmits the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria through the skin by a strong but painless bite. Most people and dogs do not even feel the bite, which is why the tick can remain undiscovered.

After the initial bite through the skin, the tick secretes "cement" to anchor to its host where it is difficult to remove. Then, it begins to take in its blood meal 30 minutes later.

But amazingly, unlike most other insect bites, the tick's bite is painless and non-irritating, because its saliva contains:

  • An anesthetic to numb and reduce pain
  • An antihistamine to reduce allergic reaction or itching
  • An anticoagulant to stop bleeding
  • An anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling
  • An immunosuppressant to help aid in the transmission of the pathogens

It's no mystery why we're unaware we've been bitten by a tick!

Infection does not happen immediately

The blacklegged tick is very slow in actually transmitting the bacteria to dogs - about eight hours. This slow transmission of the disease demonstrates the importance of checking your dog for ticks after being outside, even in your own backyard. Brush your dog and look for ticks. Talk with your veterinarian about a comprehensive tick-borne disease prevention program including Lyme vaccination.

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Lyme disease
has been
found in all 10
The threat of Lyme disease is probably greater in dogs than in humans
Dogs will often show no signs of Lyme disease


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