Thursday, July 30, 2015

Joseph Max Lewis reminds everyone to "Watch out for LYME Disease"!

Watch out for Lyme Disease

Last summer my rough haired collie began to limp. At first I thought nothing of it - he’s a big energetic male and will often step in holes, jump up after squirrels climbing trees, try to stop on a dime from an all out run and sprain a leg in the process. After a couple days of shorter walks and limping, it goes away.

Only it didn’t. Then I noticed he didn’t even want to put weight on his one leg. He licked his front paw constantly and had no desire to go on walks, normally the high point of his day.

I took him to the vet who almost immediately said, "we’ll do a blood test to be sure, but its Lyme Disease." The blood work confirmed his diagnosis and after a battery of antibiotics, Ruff made a full recovery, but only because we caught it and treated it right away.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria and spread by ticks. Really small ticks, so small you may not find them. Lyme is everywhere, but here in the states its most common in the northeastern US, along the Pacific coast, and in the Midwest. I can’t stress how important it is to catch Lyme early and treat it. Besides the pain your dog will suffer, untreated Lyme can cause kidney disease, at which time it doesn’t always respond to treatment, and leads to a painful death. Here are the most common signs of Lyme Disease and remember, these symptoms often come and go: fever, no appetite, swollen joints, dogs not wanting to move because of pain in the joints, going lame, limping, shift weight from one leg to another, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.

Certain things increase the odds of your dog getting Lyme, like living in the high risk areas and spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the woods, bush, and tall grass. For some strange reason our collie loves climbing into shrubbery, rubbing his face into the branches, backing in and rubbing his rear end into them We’ve no idea why, but it obviously places him at high risk, so we try to keep him out of bushes and always check him for ticks after walks. We also use high quality tick and flea collars or treatment and keep them current.

We had Ruff vaccinated against Lyme even though some Vets question if you should. That’s an individual decision you should make with your Vet. I can tell you watching my dog suffer is not something I want to see again. When we heard Lyme Disease, we thought "oh no," but thank heaven it was treatable. Within a week Ruff was back to his old self and so will your dog - just keep an eye out.

Joseph Max Lewis author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, Separation of Church and State and Baghdad Burning.

Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies.

After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, Separation of Church and State and Baghdad Burning. He currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

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