Lyme Disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases that is found in the Northern Hemisphere. Your dog could easily be a victim. It is very common in the United States, especially the Pacific and Atlantic Coast states and the Midwest. A different variety of the tick causes most European cases and the UK has reported that ticks causing Lyme disease in dogs is rapidly increasing.
Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Most dogs with Lyme Disease present with lameness because of the inflammation of their joints. The effected joints in your dog may be very tender to the touch. The lameness may last for only a few days but then recur days to weeks later.
Other dogs may develop inflammation in their kidneys. Symptoms may include lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, increased urination and fluid buildup in the abdomen and legs of your dog.
Other symptoms of Lyme Disease may include fever, difficulty breathing or depression.
Diagnosis of Lyme Disease
Blood and urine samples will be collected to monitor the organ systems and the diagnostic test for Lyme borrelia. Unfortunately, the specificity of this diagnostic test is not good, so the symptoms in your dog are often a better indicator of Lyme Disease than the diagnostic blood test.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Antibiotics are the treatment for Lyme Disease in your dog. Doxycycline is often used and the current appropriate treatment is for three to four weeks. Unfortunately, symptoms do not always completely resolve and some dogs may experience long-term joint pain.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
If at all possible, don’t allow your dog to wander into tick-infested areas such as woods or fields where deer may roam. Tick collars or sprays are quite helpful, however grooming your dog daily and removing ticks by hand is the best prevention for Lyme Disease.
If an attached tick is found, remove it carefully with fine tweezers. Grab the tick as closely to the skin as possible and gently pull it straight out, without turning or twisting it. Place the tick in a plastic vial or bag for identification by your vet.
The ticks that cause Lyme Disease are very tiny and often missed. There is also a vaccine available and your veterinarian may suggest this option if you live in an endemic area.
As a responsible pet owner, it is important to be knowledgeable and aware of this nasty disease and its symptoms in your dog. As a responsible owner you may be also interested in a dog poop bag holder that is a safe and convenient method to carry your dog poop bag and other necessities. This $7 item can be attached to your leash or worn on your belt-loops.