Lyme Disease In Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments And Prevention
Lyme disease is an illness that is transferred to dogs, other animals, and sometimes even humans through a tick bite. It is a very common tick-borne disease and is caused by a tick infected with bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which then gets into the pet’s system through a tick bite. Thereafter, the bacteria infect other body parts of the dog and cause lameness and inflammation in the joints. If the disease is left untreated for a longer amount of time, it also affects the kidney of the dog and heart in rare conditions.
Lyme disease can severely damage your pet’s health if not treated and diagnosed on time. Therefore, every pet parent needs to be aware of its signs and symptoms to keep their pets protected from not only fleas and ticks but also these tick-transmitted diseases. Keep on reading to find out the signs of Lyme disease and how you can protect your dog from it.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Below are the main signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs –
- Lameness and lethargic
- Shortness/difficulty in breathing
- Skin sensitivity
- Reoccurring fever
- Stiffness in joints
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Reduce in appetite
- Any kind of heart abnormalities (rare)
- Complications in the nervous system (rare)
Cause of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by a bite of an infected tick. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted to the dog via deer ticks(Ixodes spp.). The tick gets infected with the bacteria, thereafter it looks for a potential host to latch onto. These ticks can sense movement around them and can also recognize the presence of animals through vibrations. Once they find their host, they get attached to the dog by inserting their mouthparts into the dog’s skin. The bacteria of Lyme disease are transmitted to dogs after the tick is attached to the body for 48 hours.
How to Diagnose Lyme Disease
Once you spot the signs of Lyme Disease in your dog, you need to pay a visit to your vet for further diagnose. The veterinarian will ask for a complete medical history and run some blood tests. He might suggest tests for Lyme disease where they draw blood from the inflamed joint to find out the cause. Joint pain might also occur due to nutrition deficiency or arthritis, so it’s imperative to rule out other possible health issues before coming to a conclusion.
Treating Lyme Disease
Dogs suffering from Lyme disease are generally treated at home unless their condition is severe. The treatment consists of administering antibiotics to the dog for up to 4 weeks (or longer, depending upon the condition). Moreover, the vet might also recommend pain relief treatments which can be administered to the dog if he’s facing any discomfort.
Lyme disease is capable of affecting the kidney and heart but in rare conditions. Generally, the dogs get treated with a combination of treatments.
Ways to Prevent Lyme Disease
Although there are treatments available, it’s better to take preventive measures to avoid any health issues. Below are the ways you can prevent Lyme disease in your dog –
- Keep your house clean and regularly vacuum it to get rid of any existing flea eggs in the surrounding.
- Frequently washing of carpets and other furniture will eradicate the life cycle of the fleas.
- Administer flea and tick preventatives such as Bravecto for Dogs, Nexgard for Dogs and Frontline Plus for Dogs for protection against these external parasites.
- Whenever you’re spending time with your pet, run your fingers through your pet’s skin to check for any fleas or ticks.
- Use tick collar such as Kiltix Tick Collar when stepping out of the house.
By taking these preventive measures, you’re not only protecting your furry pal from Lyme disease but also from those irritating fleas and ticks. Thus, always use preventives for complete protection from parasites.