Lyme disease is a medical condition that can affect human beings. It also regularly appears in pets. If you’re a dog owner, you may be aware of this infectious tick-transmitted ailment, which is also commonly called “Lyme borreliosis.” Most canines that contract Lyme disease do not experience any symptoms whatsoever. It can lead to noticeable symptoms in a small percentage of them, however. Certain breeds of dogs are particularly vulnerable to Lyme disease. These breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Shetland Sheepdogs. Younger animals also seem to be especially vulnerable to the condition.

What Causes Lyme Disease in Dogs?

A spirochete called Borrelia burgdorferi leads to Lyme disease in dogs. This is a kind of bacterium. If a tick bites your dog, he may contract the infection. Numerous varieties of ticks carry Lyme disease. The deer tick is one such example. Dogs are not capable of giving Lyme disease to human beings. That doesn’t mean that humans can’t contract the disease, however. They most certainly can. When humans contract Lyme disease, they get it the exact same way dogs do. That’s through tick bites.

Possible Lyme Disease Symptoms in Dogs

If you have any reason to think your dog may have Lyme disease, you should set up an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Possible signs of Lyme disease in canines include:

  • Unusual exhaustion.
  • Abnormal touch sensitivity.
  • Lack of ability to withstand physical activity.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Joint ache.
  • Fever.
  • Curved backs.
  • Breathing troubles.
  • Joint swelling.
  • Rigidity.
  • Overall bodily discomfort.
  • Depression.
  • Lameness and joint inflammation.

Canine Lyme disease symptoms typically emerge long after the initial tick bites. Dogs generally develop clinical symptoms of the disease anywhere between two and five months post-bite.

Signs of Lyme disease can intensify in dogs. They can occasionally even lead to kidney failure, a potentially deadly condition. Some dogs even develop severe neurological and cardiac problems. That’s why prompt veterinary attention is so critical for dogs who have any symptoms at all.

Temporary Symptoms

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs sometimes appear to be temporary. A dog with the condition may suffer from lameness for between three and four days or so. The lameness may cease out of nowhere only to reemerge weeks in the future. Lameness can pop up in different legs as well. This is referred to as “shifting leg lameness.” If your dog’s joints appear to be causing him pain, shifting leg lameness could be responsible. Shifting leg lameness also leads to symptoms such as warm and swollen joints.

Lyme Disease and Veterinary Treatment

Timely veterinary treatment is 100 percent critical for any dog that has Lyme disease. If you have any reason to think that your dog might have the condition, you need to seek veterinary care for him as soon as possible. If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with Lyme disease, she may administer antibiotics to him. Dogs generally need to take antibiotics for Lyme disease for a few weeks at a time. Antibiotic use generally does away with Lyme disease signs in dogs. There are exceptions, though. Infections linger in some cases. If a dog’s infection doesn’t quickly let up, he may have to take antibiotics for an extended stretch of time. Lyme disease treatment in dogs isn’t limited to antibiotics, either. Veterinarians sometimes suggest different therapies that can eliminate symptoms of the condition in dogs. Veterinarians also sometimes recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications. Pain relievers can help dogs that are living with intense discomfort.

Dogs and Lyme Disease Prevention

If you own a dog, your goal should be to protect him from Lyme disease in any way you can. There luckily are numerous prevention options available to caring pet owners who want to keep their animals safe, healthy and happy. Vaccination is one example. Owners can also choose to monitor their animals closely. Don’t give your dog the chance to wander around on his own in any setting that’s chock-full of ticks. Lyme disease is particularly common in specific regions of the United States. These regions are the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast and, last but not least, the Upper Midwest. Owners who live in those areas should be especially cautious. Owners who have backyards in those areas should be especially careful as well.

Tick Control and Lyme Disease in Dogs

Tick control is a popular Lyme disease prevention choice among many owners. Tick control isn’t only beneficial for people who want to protect their dogs from Lyme disease, either. That’s because the tiny insects can actually transmit a host of other conditions beyond it. If you want to keep ticks far away from your dog, talk to your veterinarian about suitable tick control options that may be appropriate for him. There are various spot-on formulas out there that can destroy and drive away ticks. Pay close attention to your dog at all times, too. If you ever notice a tick on his body, get it off him as soon as possible. It’s important to examine your dog for potential ticks once a day. Make a point to examine your dog immediately after he comes inside.

Veterinary Testing

Veterinary tests can do wonders for pet owners who want to have peace of mind. Ask your veterinarian to test your dog for any tick-transmitted conditions on a yearly basis. You should do this regardless of whether or not you notice possible symptoms of Lyme disease. You can never be too cautious. If you’re diligent and pay careful attention to your pet, you may be able to keep Lyme disease out of his life. Don’t forget to monitor his environment, either. Ticks can be a major risk for pets that regularly walk through woodsy places that have high grasses. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your dog, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian without a second of delay. Your pet’s well-being and health should always be a big priority.

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