N.B. pet owners get Lyme disease warning

A New Brunswick animal shelter warns pet owners about the risk of Lyme disease after a stray dog is found carrying the bacterial infection.

The manager of an SPCA shelter in New Brunswick is warning pet owners about the risk of Lyme disease after a stray dog was found carrying the bacterial infection.

The dog was found in the Tracy area, about 30 kilometres south of Fredericton, in February.

The animal was in rough shape and could barely stand when the provincial SPCA brought it to the shelter in Oromocto.

Tracy Marcotullio, the shelter manager, said pet owners should be aware of Lyme disease all year, even in winter.

"The reason that we saw this case in the wintertime is because the tick that causes Lyme disease, it can take up to five or six months sometimes to see symptoms," Marcotullio said. "This dog would have had the tick bite in the summertime, contracted the Lyme disease then, but not shown symptoms for several months."

The case highlights the importance of making sure dogs are protected against ticks. Dogs can be vaccinated and pet owners should regularly check for ticks in the fur.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs are high fever, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy and loss of appetite. Though rare, some dogs will experience kidney failure or heart problems as a result of the disease.