A Pet Owners Guide to Lyme Disease in Dogs

The super scary bit of having a pet is when they get sick.  One of the worst-case scenarios is when you discover Lyme disease in dogs and it will take a moment for you to let this information in. if your dog is suffering from Lyme disease you must be wondering where did your pooch get it from? 

Here’s the thing – it is a tick-transmitted disease. That’s right. If your dog grooming is compromised in any way then chances are ticks will make a home run for your pet. It is one of the most common diseases with only 5-10% Lyme disease symptoms in dogs. So if you live in the Upper Midwestern States, the problem is on the rise in the area. 

This article will enlighten necessary information so that you have a heads-up about Lyme disease in dogs. 

Keep a Close Eye on Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a common bacterial illness in dogs. To much surprise, it can be transmitted to humans too! And other animals as well. Caused by a certain species of ticks, if it gets to your dog’s bloodstream then you have a major problem on your hand. 

Beware of the Ticks

If ticks are the common problem then where do they exist? They can be found in tall grass, thick bushes, marshes, and of course the woods. If you have an active dog who loves the outdoors then it can be troublesome. 

The average time of ticks getting attached to dogs is from 24-48 hours. 

Most Common Lyme Symptoms in Dogs

Signs of Lyme disease in dogs can easily be overlooked. These signs are few and far between but some of the most usual symptoms are; 

  • Fever 
  • A casual feeling of malaise (discomfort or illness)
  • Recurring lameness and  inflammation in joints 

Remember that because of Lyme disease, dogs suffer from physical movements. It can last for 3-4 days and occur a few weeks later. 

Less Common Lyme Symptoms in Dogs 

There are some other symptoms that vary from dog breed and how much a dog is affected by the disease; 

  • Depression 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • A problem in gait (stiff walk)
  • Touch sensitivity 
  • Breathing problem 

The severity of Lyme disease can be seen affecting the health, functioning of organs too. For instance, if Lyme disease is left untreated it can cause serious damage to the kidneys and also affect the heart and nervous system. 

It is the main cause for glomerulonephritis i.e inflammation and dysfunction of the kidney’s blood filter. 

Some of the severe signs of kidney failure due to Lyme disease in dogs include 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss 
  • Increased urination and thirst 
  • Abnormal fluids build-up 

The abnormal pain in joints can trigger Arthritis in dogs too. A degenerative joint disease makes walking or any simple body movement more painful. Dog health problems should never be taken lightly. 

In such a case you need to get your dog to the vet immediately. 

Time to Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs for Good!     

Three factors need to be kept in mind when opting for the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs – their history, physical signs, and diagnostics.   

How to Diagnose the Lyme Disease? 

First, take a deep breath. I know it does sound overwhelming a lot but before your dog can get a Lyme disease vaccine they need to be tested. There are two common blood tests performed by vets for diagnosis; 

  • C6 Test 
  • Quant C6 Test 

The C6 test is used to detect the antibodies against the protein called C6. If the C6 enzyme antibodies are found in the blood, it suggests an active Lyme infection. It takes usually 3-5 weeks to detect the antibodies once the dog is infected. 

The Quant C6 test is done along with urinalysis to determine if any antibiotic treatment is the ideal choice or not. 

How to treat Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The treatment is carried for at least 30 days. So yes, the symptoms can be resolved quickly. But keep an open mind. 

Sometimes, the infection is persistent and treatment can be prolonged. Therapies are also included as part of the PTSD treatment. 

Lyme Vaccine for Dogs

There are two common dog vaccines that you need to keep in mind – core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations. 

Core vaccinations are for severe diseases like rabies and distemper, to keep the dog protected from any fatal disease. 

Noncore vaccines are recommended by the veterinarian based on the dog’s lifestyle and health status. Lyme vaccine for dogs is non core

Get your vet involved and get your dog vaccinated but remember it’s just medicine. The shot isn’t 100% effective. If you think that vaccination will prevent tick control then you are sadly mistaken. 

Effective Tips to Help Avoid Lyme Disease in Dogs

Taking care of the dog when they get a long-term ailment can take its toll on you and your dog. If possible then continue the following practices; 

  • Keep the dog at bay from the tick-infested environment (even if it’s your home garden!) 
  • Always make sure that the hiding spots are tick-free. 
  • Check the dog’s coat to see if there are ticks, remove them as you see them. 
  • Protect your dog by using flea and tick prevention. Your vet can recommend the best option like collars, tablets, chews (tick repellent), and so on. 

Be a responsible dog owner and take care of your pooch right away before it gets too late.    

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Summra is a dog enthusiast fully committed to helping train fellow dog owners. She enlightens them to solve their furry friend’s behavioral issues and to focus on the dog’s needs in optimistic ways.