If you live in an area that has deer running free, there’s a chance your dog can be
exposed to Lyme disease. The most common areas Lyme disease cases are
reported are located in Pacific coastal states, the Atlantic seaboard, and upper
Midwestern states. Lyme disease is known as the most common tick-transmitted
disease worldwide. Surprisingly, your dog might have Lyme disease and you won’t
know it because only about 5 – 10% of dogs show symptoms.
Causes of Lyme Disease in Dogs
The bite of an infected hard-shelled deer tick is responsible for the transmission
of Lyme disease. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted when an
infected deer tick attaches to a dog for more than 2 – 3 days.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs
• Inflammation of the joints
• Kidney problems
• Weight loss
• Lack of appetite
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Abnormal fluid buildups
• Breathing difficulties
• Sensitivity to touch
• Walking with an arched stiff back
• Heart problems
• Swollen lymph nodes
Visit the Veterinarian
If you suspect your dog has Lyme disease you need to visit the veterinarian
immediately. Make sure you are prepared to answer questions related to your
dog’s lifestyle. You will need to provide the veterinarian with as much detail as
possible such as your dog’s outdoor habits, do they roam off into the woods, were
you in an area known to have deer ticks, etc.
Providing the doctor with as much information as possible is essential to
determine if your dog has Lyme disease. Sometimes symptoms might appear as
Lyme disease but it can be another illness causing the signs. The veterinarian will
run tests that will confirm if your dog has Lyme disease or not.
Treating Lyme Disease in Dogs
Once your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease the level of severity and damage
will be determined. Dog’s generally are treated for Lyme disease as outpatients.
There are some situations such as severe kidney disease that might require your
dog to stay in the animal hospital for treatment.
The most common treatment for Lyme disease in dogs is antibiotics. While
Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic treatment there are new and
improved alternatives available. Consult with the veterinarian to learn the
Antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease in dogs generally helps eliminate the
infection. However, there are some cases where the treatment does not work.
Sometimes symptoms will disappear and return later. It is essential that you
monitor your dog’s health on a regular basis after the diagnosis of Lyme disease is
confirmed. Kidney disease is the main concern so monitoring your dog’s urination
schedule is recommended.
You can do your best to prevent your dog from having contact with an infected
tick. There are a variety of things you can do such as avoid allowing your dog to
roam near tick-infested areas, including ALL NATURAL. Remember the tick needs
to be on your dog for at least 2 to 3 days for him or her to become infected. If you
remove ticks on a daily basis, this will lessen the risk of infection. If your dog has
been exposed to tick-infested areas visit a veterinarian immediately for further