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Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is a common tick-borne disease that is found in people and pets across the United States. In people and dogs, Lyme disease can lead to chronic symptoms like kidney failure and joint pain or arthritis if not promptly caught and treated. Here, our Brentwood vets share some of the causes, symptoms and treatment for Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the impact of chronic Lyme on your canine companion's life.

Causes of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease has been diagnosed in people and dogs across all states. But the infection rates vary from one state to another. In the US, the Upper Midwest, Northeast and Pacific Coast report the highest annual cases of Lyme disease in dogs. 

This disease is contracted through the bite of an infected tick. These external parasites are often found in grassy or wooded areas, from farm fields to forests

Since ticks can't jump or fly, they find prey by resting on the tips of leaves or blades of grass and wait for direct contact with pets or people.

Lyme disease isn't contagious, but an infected tick that bites one dog may make its way to another pet or person to spread the disease further.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Dogs will often carry Lyme disease without showing any symptoms. Some dogs, however, suffer from symptoms that cause them pain and discomfort. If your dog has Lyme disease, they may show any of the following symptoms:

  • Lameness
  • Stiffness
  • High fever
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Swollen inflamed joints
  • General lethargy or discomfort
  • Decreased appetite and depression 
  • Breathing difficulties

Chronic Effects of Lyme Disease in Dogs

If your dog's case of Lyme disease isn't promptly identified and treated, the condition can become life-threatening. 

Lyme disease, if left to run its course or treated too late, Lyme disease can cause kidney failure, serious heart problems, neurological issues and long-term joint pain and arthritis in your pup.

How is Lyme Disease Is Diagnosed in Dogs

If your veterinarian suspects your dog has Lyme disease, they will review their medical history, inquire about any instances in which your dog may have come into contact with ticks, and perform a variety of diagnostic tests, ranging from X-rays to blood work.

Lyme Disease in Dogs Treatment

Lyme disease treatment in dogs typically involves a four-week course of antibiotics. If your dog is particularly uncomfortable, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help alleviate his pain.

Is there at-home treatment for dogs with Lyme disease?

There is no true at-home treatment for dogs with Lyme disease, as treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian. But it is important to monitor your dog's symptoms closely and provide plenty of rest and hydration.

Can a dog recover from Lyme disease?

Yes, dogs can recover from Lyme disease with proper treatment, which typically includes antibiotics and supportive care. It is important to monitor the dog closely for any lingering symptoms or complications that may arise during the recovery process. 

Lyme Disease Prevention in Dogs

Keeping your pup on tick-prevention medication is one way of keeping them safe from contracting Lyme disease. 

As well, whenever you dog has been walking through areas that may serve as a hiding spot for ticks, you should check you pet's skin and remove any ticks as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of transmitting disease.

That said, removing ticks isn't as straightforward as you may think. Contact your vet for instruction on how to properly remove ticks from your dog. (Your vet may request that you keep the tick for testing).

Remember that Lyme disease affects humans much more severely than it does dogs! If you walk through areas with long grass or shrubs, check your skin for ticks on a regular basis. If you discover a tick attached to your skin, contact your doctor for advice on how to remove it. Lyme disease in humans can cause a wide range of painful chronic symptoms.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of Lyme disease? Contact Brentwood Veterinary Clinictoday to book an examination for your canine companion.

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