Are you familiar with Lyme disease in dogs? Have you ever noticed tiny ticks staying inside your dog’s coat? They are not just parasites that will reside in their hair and vanish completely one day. They can be fatal if not treated on time. This article will discuss everything you need to know about Lyme disease, including its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and more.

What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi is the source of the bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. The sickness can affect both humans and animals, including dogs. With the bite of an infected black-legged tick, it is transferred to dogs.

How do Dogs Get Lyme Disease?

Dogs can get Lyme disease through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. These ticks are most commonly found in wooded areas and areas with tall grasses. Once a tick bites a dog, the bacteria can take up to 48 hours to transmit.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can vary widely, but some of the most common signs include the following:

  1. Lameness: One of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs is lameness, typically caused by joint inflammation. The lameness may shift from one leg to another and can come and go.
  2. Fever: Lyme disease can cause a fever in dogs, often accompanied by lethargy and a lack of appetite.
  3. Loss of appetite: Dogs with Lyme disease may lose their appetite and not want to eat their regular food.
  4. Fatigue: Lyme disease can cause dogs to feel tired and weak, which may lead to a lack of interest in exercise or playtime.
  5. Joint swelling: Lyme disease can cause swelling and pain in the joints, making it difficult for dogs to move around comfortably.
  6. Kidney damage: In severe cases, Lyme disease can cause kidney damage in dogs, which can lead to dehydration, vomiting, and increased urination.

If you suspect that your dog may have Lyme disease, it is important to seek veterinary care promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for a good prognosis. Dogs with Lyme disease will show symptoms, and some may only show mild symptoms.

How is Lyme Disease in Dogs Diagnosed?

A blood test that checks for antibodies to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium can diagnose Lyme disease. If a dog tests positive for Lyme disease, additional tests may be done to check for kidney and liver function.

Can Lyme Disease be Treated in Dogs?

Yes, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. The length of treatment will depend on the severity of the disease and the dog’s response to treatment. In serious situations, hospitalization can be necessary.

How can Lyme Disease in Dogs be Prevented?

There are several ways to prevent Lyme disease in puppies, including:

  • Checking your dog for ticks regularly
  • Using tick preventatives such as topical treatments or collars
  • Keeping your yard free of tall grasses and debris
  • Avoiding wooded areas or areas with tall grasses during peak tick season
  • Vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease (if available)

What is the Prognosis of Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The prognosis for dogs with Lyme disease is generally good with proper treatment. However, if the condition is left untreated or if treatment is delayed, it can lead to more severe complications such as kidney failure.

Can Humans Get Lyme Disease from Dogs?

While dogs can contract Lyme disease from infected ticks, they typically do not transmit it directly to humans. However, if an infected tick that has fed on a dog then bites a human, that tick can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to the human.

It’s important to note that not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Even if a tick is infected, it typically must be attached to a person or animal for at least 24-36 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted. That’s why it’s important to prevent tick bites, such as wearing long clothing, using tick repellents, and checking yourself and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors in areas where ticks are common.

Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease More Than Once?

Dogs can indeed contract Lyme disease multiple times. The antibodies developed from the previous infection do not protect against future infections completely. Therefore, it is important to continue preventative measures even after treatment.

Are there any Breeds of Dogs that are More Susceptible to Lyme Disease?

While dogs can get Lyme disease, some breeds may be more susceptible. These breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Shetland Sheepdogs. It is unclear why these breeds are more vulnerable, but it may be related to their genetics or lifestyle.

Can Ticks be Found in Urban Areas?

Ticks are commonly found in wooded and grassy areas and urban areas such as parks and backyards. It is important to check your dog for ticks regularly, regardless of where you live.

Also Read: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

What Should I Do If I Find a Tick on My Dog?

It’s crucial to get rid of ticks from dogs as soon as you discover them. Get the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as you can, and then pull it out completely. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, clean the area with soap and water or an antiseptic.

Can I Prevent Ticks on my Dog Without Using Chemicals?

Yes, there are natural ways to prevent ticks on your dog. Some options include using essential oils such as cedarwood, lavender, and lemongrass or feeding your dog garlic or apple cider vinegar. However, it is important to note that these methods may not be as effective as chemical preventatives and may not be suitable for all dogs.