Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness that affects dogs.

According to Pet MD, Lyme Disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, but it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. Because of this, the disease can be difficult to detect.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Lameness due to joint inflammation
  • Swollen, warm, or painful joints
  • May develop kidney problems
  • Stiff walk with arched back
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Lyme Disease is only transmitted by ticks. The common deer tick is the primary carrier. Infection occurs after the tick has been attached to the dog for 2-3 days. The quicker you remove a tick, the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Be sure to inspect your dog (and yourself) for ticks daily after going on walks through woods or grassy areas. You may also ask you vet to conduct “tick checks” at your dog’s exams to find anything that you may have missed. Since the disease is only transmitted by ticks, you do not need to worry about catching Lyme Disease from your dog. However, if you have been in the same areas as your dog who has been infected, it is important to check yourself for any ticks and see a doctor if you notice any bites or have any reactions to ticks.

    A blood test is used to diagnose if a dog has Lyme Disease. If diagnosed with Lyme Disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable (sever kidney disease). The disease is treated with antibiotics and treatment typically lasts 4 weeks. However, some cases may need longer. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory or pain killer to help with the associated joint pain and discomfort.

    Since Lyme Disease can be difficult to detect, it is best to take preventative measures to protect your pet against it. Two ways to do this are with the Lyme vaccination and tick preventatives. The Lyme vaccination is a yearly vaccine that protects your dog against the disease. The vaccine is not a required core vaccine, and it may not be right for every dog. In order to determine if the Lyme vaccine is right for your pet, speak to your veterinarian.

    There are different products, both over the counter and prescription, that repel and kill ticks. These products are typically administered once a month to protect your pet against ticks. Two types of tick preventatives are topical and oral. Topical preventatives are applied directly to the skin. Some common topical preventatives are Frontline and Advantix II. Oral preventatives are usually administered as chewables. These include Nexgard and Simparica. There are also different collars, like the Seresto collar, that protect against ticks. Again, it is best to speak with your veterinarian to determine which method of protection would be best for your pet.

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