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Vaccination for Your Chihuahua – Lyme and Giardia

Vaccination for Your Chihuahua – Lyme and Giardia

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is fairly uncommon but cases do occur every year so it is good to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Your Chihuahua can get the disease from the bite of a tick, but don’t panic because not all ticks carry the lyme bacterium.

Check with your veterinarian about the occurrence of lyme disease in your area. 

Many studies have been done in various parts of the world to see what the occurrence rate is for lyme disease. 

Sometimes the percentage is as low as 1% of ticks carrying the bacterium.  The chance of your Chi picking up a lyme infected tick can be relatively low.

As a Chihuahua owner you are lucky.  Chis aren’t usually known for crashing through the bush and spending hours out in the country.  Chis are so popular with their owners because they like to stick close to home and spend time with us.  However, the possibility exists that your little pooch can come in contact with a tick in long grass at the local park.

The life cycle of a tick is a bit confusing and involves several seasons of feeding on mice and deer before reaching the mature stage which attaches to your pet or you.  If you find a tick on your Chi make sure to remove it.  Weekly grooming helps you find ticks that can be hidden in your Chi’s fur coat, especially for long haired Chihuahuas. 

Some people think you should burn ticks with a match or pull them out with tweezers but the best way is to pick up a little tool called a “tick twister” at your local pet store or veterinarian.  A “tick twister” allows you to remove the tick easily and keep it alive.  If you wish to test the tick for lyme disease it must be alive so this is important. 

Symptoms to watch out for include lethargy, fever and lack of appetite.  Unfortunately if your Chi develops these symptoms it can be a sign or a whole range of illnesses.  The standout sign for lyme disease is limping.  If your Chi has picked up a tick and develops any of these symptoms make sure to tell your vet when your Chi had the tick because symptoms develop two to six months after getting the tick.

Giardia

Giardia is also known as “beaver fever” and like lyme disease is a doggy disease that can affect people as well.  Symptoms include general stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, cramps and nausea.  Your Chi can pick up the parasite by drinking out of puddles or ponds tainted with fecal matter from infected animals.

Chihuahuas and other small dogs are prone to becoming dehydrated from the diarrhea and vomiting associated with Giardia.  Getting veterinary care is important to stop the symptoms and rehydrate your pet before they become truly ill.

It is very important to know that if your Chi is diagnosed with Giardia it can spread to you.  Practise good hand washing techniques especially when doing pooper scooper duty.

Vaccination

There are vaccines for both Lyme and Giardia and depending on your risk factors you and your veterinarian may decide to vaccinate.  There is some controversy about whether the Giardia vaccine actually prevents the disease.  What is certain is that it helps prevent your Chi from shedding the disease which protects you and your family.

Both vaccines are licensed for one year and continued annual vaccination is needed to ensure that your pet (and your family) stays protected.


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