State College Veterinary Hospital

1700 W. College Avenue
State College, PA 16801-2719


Lyme and Heartworm Disease


Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is carried by certain species of ticks that are found in all of the 50 states.  Lyme is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by an infected tick that feeds on any dog, human, or mammal.  
There are few signs that owners can see that could indicate that your dog has Lyme Disease.  Many of the symptoms are not shown until a few months after the transmission. The most common signs are lameness or arthritis accompanied by loss of appetite, depression and possible fever.   Other symptoms include lymph node swelling and painful joints that can be warm to the touch; symptoms often have sudden onsets and can come and go.


Protect Your Animal as Well as Yourself


There are many ways to help protect your dog from Lyme Disease. Apply a topical tick control such as Frontline Plus or a Seresto collar year round. Remember that ticks are out all year long including in the winter and are active when the temperature is 28 degrees or warmer. 

There is a vaccine that can help block the transmission of Lyme disease to your dog. The first year that the vaccine is given, you must get a series of two shots. Then the vaccine is added to your once a year vaccination protocol.  Brush dogs frequently during tick season, and remove any tick that you find immediately. If you are unsure on how to remove ticks, please give our office a call.


Help protect yourself by avoiding heavily wooded areas during tick season and wearing long sleeved, light colored clothing. Take extra precaution by making sure that your loose clothing (shirt and pant legs) are tucked to make a barrier preventing ticks from crawling under clothing.  Always conduct full body tick checks after you are done outside. 

To find out if your dog has Lyme disease, we can perform a simple Heartworm / Lyme / Ehrlichiosis / Ananplasmosis test here in the hospital.  The test only takes around 10 minutes and any staff member can pull the blood required for the test. 



Heartworm Disease


Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals. The disease is spread when a mosquito take a blood meal from an infected animal then bites another susceptible animal including a cat or a dog. The larvae is deposited on the skin and actively migrates into the new animal.

Infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected animals may eventually show clinical signs, including mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move, reduced appetite, and weight loss.***


Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss.***


To find out if your animal has heartworm disease, we can perform a simple Heartworm / Lyme / Ehrlichiosis / Ananplasmosis test for dogs or a Feline Leukemia / FIV / Heartworm test here in the hospital. Any staff member can draw the required amount of blood and within 10 minutes we have results. We recommend yearly tests on all animals as part of their wellness exam. 


Heartworm disease is a very difficult and expensive disease to treat. However heartworm disease is a preventable disease. Our hospital recommends year round heartworm preventions with one of the following products: Heartgard, Tri-Heart (dog only), Interceptor, or Advantage Multi. These products not only offer heartworm protection but also different parasite control such as roundworm and hookworm protection. Please ask any staff member to determine which preventive would fit your pet best.  For more information about heartworms, please visit the American Heartworm Society***website. 

                                                                                       Pictures: © Idexx Laboratories