Lyme Disease Symptoms In Dogs
One of the main symptoms of Lyme disease is limping in dogs, which can be alarming when first spotted. With Lyme disease, lameness is ongoing and can last anywhere from three to four days but sometimes, even goes on for weeks on end. It can worsen in the same leg or move on to other legs. If it jumps to other legs, then its often called shifting-leg lameness.
This lameness causes extreme discomfort, because lameness often causes a dogs legs to feel swollen, warm, and painful. If you see your dog suddenly limping, dont assume that they injured their paw or got tired from running too much at the park. It might be something more serious, like Lyme disease.
How can you tell whether they injured themselves or if its Lyme disease? If your dog is consistently lifting the same leg, then hes probably just injured it. But if the leg pain is shifting around and shifts from one leg to the next, it could be a sign of shifting-leg-lameness and actually a result from Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can also cause kidney problems in dogs. Dog kidney disease comes with a host of other problems like diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and fluid build-ups.
Some general symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs include:
- Stiff walking with an arched back
- Sensitivity to touch
- Nervous system complications
Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It
The biggest key here is to be verycareful and veryquick, Dr. Wooten advises. This is because your dog is most likely to contract Lyme disease from a tick thats been feeding for 12 hours. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Protect your hands from potential bacteria and bites with a tissue or disposable gloves.
- Get a great set of tweezers dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Use these to remove any moving ticks you find immediately by pulling it straight up and off of your dog.
- If the tick isnt moving and is stuck on your dogs skin, get your tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight up and off of your pet. Be careful not to twist your tweezers, as this may rip off only part of the tick and leave its mouth on your pet and leave your dog at risk of infection.
- If necessary, ask someone to help restrain your dog while you remove the tick.
- Place the tick in rubbing alcohol or crush it. If you crush the tick, be sure not to get any of it on your skin.
Top Five Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is an infectious disease affecting humans, dogs, cats, and other species. This debilitating illness stems from microscopic bacteria called Borreliaburgdorferi, which is transmitted from the bite of an infected tick into an animal host.
Dogs are more commonly infected with Lyme disease than cats, mostly due to their propensity to get out and about to explore grassy or wooded environments where ticks can lurk on leaves, branches, or blades of grass, and latch on to a dogs coat as it passes by.
As most cats live either primarily or exclusively indoors, they are generally less affected by Lyme disease. Felines living indoor-outdoor lives are more prone to tick bites and infection with Borrelia burgdorferi.
There are a variety of clinical signs that can be found individually or in combinations. If left untreated, Lyme disease can be fatal.
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When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is preventable. The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid areas with high concentrations of ticks, like woods and grassy areas. Ticks are most active during the summer and fall, but infections are common during the summer as well as the winter in areas with mild winters. You should always manually check your dog for ticks after going for walks in tick-infested areas.
Administering a monthly tick preventative will also help prevent Lyme disease. Many of these preventatives kill ticks before they have had a chance to attach for 24 hours, reducing the risk of infection. There is also a vaccination that may be recommended for your dog if you regularly frequent high-risk areas. If you live in an area with severe infestations of ticks, you may also want to consider treating your yard, although pesticide treatments carry risks of their own that should be discussed with your veterinarian.
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If My Dog Has Lyme Disease Can I Contract It
Dogs with Lyme disease not a direct cause of the disease in humans. Thankfully, it cannot be transmitted from one pet to another or from an infected pet to a human. Lyme disease can only be transmitted through bites from ticks that are carrying the bacteria that causes this disease.
Unfortunately, though, if your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease you and any other humans or pets in your house should also be checked to see if you have been infected.
This is because you, and your other pets or family members, have likely been in the same outdoor area that the infected dog has been so youve likely had the same risk of exposure. You should consult with your doctor and vet to determine the best course of action.
Treating Dog Lyme Disease
If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable . Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but other antibiotics are also effective.
Treatment usually takes at least 4 weeks, and longer courses may be necessary in some cases. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory if your dog is especially uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate the infection from Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Symptoms may resolve but then return at a later date, and the development of kidney disease in the future is always a concern.
Administering the antibiotics properly to your dog reduces the likelihood of chronic consequences.
Improvement in sudden inflammation of the joints caused by Borrelia should be seen after 3-5 days of antibiotic treatment. If there is no improvement within 3-5 days, your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your dog.
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How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Tick control and prevention methods significantly reduce the likelihood of infection. Maintaining antibodies against B. burgdorferi through vaccination can further protect your animal. Antibody amounts and duration of vaccine antibodies can vary in individuals. Verifying your animals antibody response to vaccination helps to assure durable protection.
How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease can be treated in cases where dogs develop symptoms, such as lameness, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Antibiotic treatment with Doxycycline as the first choice is usually conducted for four weeks, despite the quick improvement of the dogs state and symptoms. Additionally, analgesics and other supplements can be given as well, to support the dogs general state. Nevertheless, supervision and retesting should be done for a longer period of time, since recurrent symptoms can occur. To learn more about treatment, check the section ‘Treatment for Lyme Disease in Dogs.’
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What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Dogs
You will need to provide a thorough history of your dog’s health to give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are being affected.
Clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease is usually confirmed with a positive blood test for Lyme along with the clinical signs associated with Lyme disease.
Its important to note that tests can take 4-6 weeks to show up as positive after exposure, which is why veterinarians will use a combination of diagnostics to diagnose your dog:
Blood chemistry tests
X-rays and tests specific to diagnosing Lyme disease
Fluid from the affected joints may also be drawn for analysis
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How Can Pet Parents Prevent Canine Lyme Disease
Testing is required to diagnose a case of Lyme disease in dogs. Your veterinarian will use a blood test to confirm the presence of antibodies associated with the disease. Keep in mind that it takes at least four weeks for these antibodies to show up on a test. If your dog has recently suffered a tick bite, a test administered in the first four weeks wont offer any indication of whether your dog has Lyme disease or not.
Veterinarians will combine this test with their own physical evaluation of your dog when making a diagnosis. Once a positive test is confirmed, your dogs vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria at the root of their condition, although specific treatment protocols may depend on the health of your dog.
Even if your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the past, your veterinarian may recommend vaccination to prevent additional cases of Lyme disease in the future. This vaccination is performed in two phases, with an initial vaccination and another booster administered several weeks later. It is recommended that dogs receive an annual booster to maximize the efficacy of the vaccination. Beyond a vaccine, you can take other preventative measures by giving your dog preventative tick medications, as well as checking them regularly for ticks latched onto their skin. The risk of contracting Lyme disease increases the longer a tick is attached, so prompt identification and removal will reduce the likelihood of canine Lyme disease.
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog
Check your pet immediately after it has been in a tick-infected area. The deer tick is a small tick and only about pinhead size in juvenile stage, but is a little more obvious in the adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. See your veterinarian if you are unsure or unable to remove the tick from your dog.
Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.You may need another person to help restrain your dog. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin.
Note: The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin.
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Are Humans At Risk
Can you catch Lyme disease from your dog? No. Dogs cannot directly infect people and Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another pet or from pets to humans. The only way Lyme Disease is spread is through tick bites. That being said, if a tick is on your dogs fur and it then comes into your house, theres a possibility that it could get on you as well.
In order to avoid exposure to tick bites, as a dog owner, you can also avoid the woods, tall grasses, and bushes, wear long pants, and check you and your dog for ticks each time you leave the outdoors.
How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog
If you find a tick on your dog, pull it off either using a tick remover tool or you can just use your hands and a tissue. You want to avoid any twisting or crushing, as this may force material out of the tick and into the bite wound.
Gently clean the area with soap and water and see your vet if it appears inflamed, swollen, infected, or concerning in any way. Avoid applying any ointments or oils to the area, as these can actually seal in any bacteria that tick may have been carrying.
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How To Help Protect Your Pet
Using a tick preventive can help protect your dog from disease-carrying ticks. Tick prevention products that both kill and repel the parasite should be considered, because if a tick is repelled, it cant bite and transmit diseases, like Lyme disease, to your dog in the first place. Effective tick control products can be found at the vet or over the counter at pet stores and online retailers.
How Lyme Disease Is Transmitted
The question “How is Lyme disease spread?” is asked most often by people who are bitten by infected ticks but do not have signs or symptoms of the illness. Lyme disease is transmitted through a tick’s bite, which is why it is called ” Lyme.” Lyme disease is more prevalent in the western US and parts of Canada, where deer are frequently hunted.Lyme disease can be caused by several different species of ticks, including black-legged ticks and deer tick, but it is primarily transmitted to humans by the black-legged tick, which is easier to transmit because of its small size. The name “Lyme” comes from a town in Connecticut called “Lyme Disease,” where a local epidemic of lyme disease occurred in 1975.
Although antibiotics are available to treat lyme disease, most patients experience recurrence within a few weeks of their initial treatment.This usually occurs because the body’s immune system is not strong enough to fight off the infection. If you are experiencing repeated bites, have a rash, or are experiencing joint pain or swelling, contact your doctor immediately for confirmation that you are infected with Lyme disease. Lyme disease symptoms are usually similar to those of other tick-borne infections, so it is wise to be tested if you think you may have been infected.
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Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection
In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals dont show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.
In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.
The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Dogs don’t exhibit the telltale red rashsometimes manifested in a bulls-eye patternthat we humans display, so an infection in your pet may not be as obvious. However, some common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs or cats include:4
- Appetite loss
- Reluctance to move
Symptoms can progress and sometimes be fatal, which is why it’s important to get your dog diagnosed if she has any of these symptoms.
A veterinarian will do a physical exam and talk about your dog’s history. To determine if your pet has contracted Lyme disease, your veterinarian will typically administer blood tests. The presence of Lyme disease antibodies in the blood may indicate an active infection, and these typically show up about three to five weeks after a tick bite. However, they can sometimes be found even before you notice symptoms.
If the tests come back positive, your dog will receive antibiotics for up to four weeks. Sometimes longer treatment or therapy is needed.
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What Are Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease symptoms in dogs maybe a little more difficult to find, especially in thicker fur dogs. If you discover a tick in your dog, remove it promptly and keep an eye on your dogs behavior and look out for any possible symptoms. If you notice even slight symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, take your dog to the vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
It is important to know what to look for when dealing with the possibility of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can easily become very serious for your dog and should be taken care of right away to avoid the possibility of serious illness or infection. It is also important to know how to properly remove ticks from your dog in case they carry the Lyme disease-causing bacteria.