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Corner Brook vet confirms first local case of Lyme disease this season

For anybody who doesn’t know what to look for, this what a tick biting a pet looks like.
For anybody who doesn’t know what to look for, this what a tick biting a pet looks like.

One unlucky canine in Corner Brook is recovering from the effects of Lyme disease.

Dr. Angela Martyn, a veterinarian at the Animal Health Centre in Corner Brook, confirmed her clinic confirmed the first known case of the illness in the area this season nearly two weeks ago.

Martyn said the dog presented as unwell, with limping that alternated between its hind legs. The dog also had a fever and was not eating.

Testing done at the clinic confirmed within an hour or so that the dog had Lyme disease.

The condition, which results from being bitten by an infected tick, is becoming more and more common in Newfoundland since it was first reported here around 17 years ago.

The affected dog in Corner Brook had not been outside the province, said Martyn, so it had to have contracted the disease on the island.

She urged people with pets who venture outside, especially into the tall grasses and wooded areas where ticks like to live, to be aware of them. Ticks can come into the home and humans can also contract Lyme disease from the insect’s bite.

“Lyme disease is not easy to get rid of, so people should examine themselves as well as their pets,” she said, noting the effects could last for years with chronic flare-ups.

Martyn said the dog diagnosed earlier this month seems to be getting better with treatment. She said it is no longer limping and is eating well again.

Ticks are active as long as the temperature outside is 4 C or warmer, she cautioned. There are tick preventative products available for dogs, but they are available only by prescription.

Martyn said there will soon be a product available for cats too.

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