What We Can Learn from Avril Lavigne’s Fight with Lyme Disease

May 13th, 2015 by Daniel Mudrick

You may have seen it in the news recently – Avril Lavigne, popular Canadian singer, is recovering from a recent struggle with Lyme disease.

According to her, “I went from doctor to doctor for about eight months until I found somebody that had the knowledge of Lyme disease and the experience of treating it. I actually knew I had it the whole time, probably since the summer, and was just up against a lot of doctors telling me, ‘You’re crazy.’ Some of them were like, ‘It doesn’t exist.'”

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that can infect dogs and humans, as well as other mammals. Other mammals with Lyme disease cannot transmit the disease – only ticks can! Southern Ontario, the GTA, and particularly our area of Mississauga, have been at a high level of risk for ticks and Lyme disease for the past 3.5 years. Don’t count on seeing a tick; many are too small to see!

Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation exists about Lyme disease and it is often misdiagnosed. Many people even believe humans can’t get it. However, according to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme), it’s actually on the rise in Canada.

Avril Lavigne’s battle with Lyme disease sheds light on the fact that anyone can contract the illness. Her story raises awareness about Lyme disease, hopefully encouraging more people to know the symptoms when they see them.

Here are some of the common symptoms in humans:

  • Small rash
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Neurological problems

I most strongly encourage you to check out the CanLyme website’s full list of human Lyme disease symptoms. Click here for the list.

The important thing to remember – and what Avril Lavigne’s diagnosis reminds us of – is that Lyme disease is a real concern, for both us and our pets.

In fact, Randy Hiller, Ontario MPP has started a petition that calls on our government to provide better awareness, diagnostics, and treatment for Lyme disease in Ontario. Click here to learn more about the petition and support this important cause!

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease can be extremely serious for dogs.

Here are some of the common symptoms in dogs:

  • Recurrent lameness
  • Arthritis
  • Pain and fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased activity
  • Swollen lymph nodes and joints
  • Sometimes no signs at all, but protein loss through the kidneys

The best course of action is always prevention. If your dog is protected from parasites, including ticks, they will be protected from many serious conditions. This year, prevention is easier than ever, with a chewable pill that lasts 3 months! We also recommend a Lyme disease vaccine for those of us living in high risk areas (like southern Ontario, shore of Lake Erie, Kingston/Gananoque area).

If you think your dog may already have Lyme disease, I urge you to bring them in right away for an exam.

Learn more about Lyme disease and dogs in our previous blog: “How to Protect Your Dog from Lyme Disease”.

Dogsandticks.com is another great resource to learn more about dogs, ticks, and Lyme disease.

>> Talk to us about Lyme disease and tick prevention for your dog. Book an appointment now!

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About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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