Chronic Effects Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
If your dog’s case of Lyme disease isn’t promptly identified and treated, the condition can become life-threatening.
Lyme disease, if left to run its course or treated too late, Lyme disease can cause kidney failure, serious heart problems, neurological issues and long-term joint pain and arthritis in your pup.
Lyme Disease In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment
Reviewed and updated on April 14, 2020 by Rania Gollakner, DVM
Lyme disease in dogs is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, but it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. So some dogs may have it, but never show symptoms.
Transmission of Lyme disease has been reported in dogs throughout the United States and Europe, but its most prevalent in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific coastal states.
However, the disease is spreading and becoming more common throughout the United States. Heres some info about the causes and prevention of Lyme disease, as well as the symptoms you should look for and treatment options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is, unfortunately, a relatively common canine illness.
The most common symptom is arthritic pain, accompanied by fatigue and fever. If youre unsure if your pet has been exposed, contact our Cabbagetown veterinary team to discuss appropriate measures to protect or treat your pet.
Left untreated, symptoms can last for years and include recurring arthritis and neurological problems, kidney failure, numbness and paralysis. We are often asked if Lyme disease can be fatal to a dog? Although uncommon, fatalities from Lyme disease have been reported.
Typical symptoms in dogs include:
- generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
- swelling of joints
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For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted
Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.
However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.
How Lyme Disease Is Diagnosed In Dogs
If your vet believes that your pet could be suffering from Lyme disease they will review a full medical history of your dog health, discuss with you any instances when your dog may have come into contact with ticks, examine your pet’s body for ticks, then perform a number of tests which may include, blood tests , urine analysis, fecal exam and x-rays. If painful joints is one of your pup’s symptoms, your vet may draw fluid from the affected joints to be analyzed.
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Warning Signs Of Untreated Lyme Disease In Dogs
Both humans and dogs are susceptible to a bacterial illness known as Lyme disease. The illness, which is transmitted by certain species of ticks, can create a number of health complications throughout the body, especially when left undiagnosed and untreated.
Identifying the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can be more complicated than with humans, though, due to the different ways the illness may affect your pets health and produce symptoms. But identifying Lyme disease is crucial to getting your dog effective treatment for this condition. Avoiding doing so may lead to rare but serious health complications that may affect your dogs quality of life or even put their life at risk. Take a few minutes to educate yourself on the common Lyme symptoms in dogs, and what you can do to treat and prevent this condition.
Protect Your Dogs From Lyme Disease
More often than not, dogs who have been infected with Lyme Borreliosis experience kidney disease as well and this is more prevalent in Golden retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Labrador Retrievers and Bernese Mountain dogs. While dogs may appear to be more prone to Lyme disease because of how ticks often stick o them, there are still areas of the world where dogs are not much experiencing Lyme Disease or tick bacteria effects.
Dogs that develop Lyme disease displays a recurring lameness and laziness because of the inflammation of joints. This usually lasts for about three to four days and can recur in the following weeks ahead either in the same leg or other legs. This symptom is called shifting-leg lameness where more than a joint becomes swollen and painful.
Lyme disease, for infected dogs, can also lead to glomerulonephritis which is an inflammation of the kidney that may eventually result to organ failure. The usual symptoms for this is vomiting, lack of appetite, weight loss, frequent urination, thirst, diarrhea and abnormal fluid build ups. Moreover, there are other symptoms associated with Lyme disease which can occur to dogs and these include:
- Arching of the back
- Complications on the nervous system
- Sensitivity to touch
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How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease
The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”
Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease
Yes, our beloved pups can be infected with Lyme disease.
Lyme disease infections in dogs are growing more and more common as the years go by, though only 5-10% of dogs will develop severe symptoms.
When a dog does develop Lyme disease symptoms, their disease can manifest in many ways.
This condition can not only impact a dogs quality of life, but it can even be fatal in some cases.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs Can Dogs Get It
Many of us are aware that ticks can spread illnesses through their bite.
Lyme disease is one of the many diseases that ticks can harbor, infecting both humans and dogs with a simple bite.
Lyme disease is a realistic threat in many parts of the country, making it so important for dog owners to be educated on the details of this condition.
In this article we will get into the details of Lyme disease in our canine friends, and help you better understand your dogs prognosis if they are diagnosed with this tick-borne illness.
Prevention Of Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is often based on the signs and history. For example, a veterinarian might suspect Lyme disease in a dog with recent lameness, a mild fever, and a history that includes possible exposure to ticks. Standard blood studies are not very helpful in diagnosis because the results tend to fall within normal ranges despite signs of infection. However, these tests may be important in order to rule out other causes of disease. Antibodies against the disease-causing bacteria can often be detected 4 to 6 weeks after the initial infection and help confirm the diagnosis.
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What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
Can You Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
The best way to prevent Lyme disease in your dog is by protecting them against infected ticks.
Adequate flea and tick prevention is essential in preventing tick-borne illness, as an approved tick repellent will prevent the tick from attaching long enough to spread disease.
You can speak with your vet about which tick prevention is best for your furry friend at your next wellness exam.
Not only is flea and tick prevention essential in preventing tick-borne illness, but so is avoidance of areas that are known to harbor a large amount of ticks.
Some of the most high risk areas include any regions with tall foliage, as this is the easiest way for a tick to come in contact with your dogs fur.
Not only should you avoid these areas when possible, but you should always search your dogs fur for any ticks after your outdoor adventures.
If you live in an area with a high rate of Lyme disease infections, you can speak with your veterinarian about the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs.
The vaccine is not 100% effective, meaning its important to have your dog on tick prevention in addition to administering the vaccine.
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, followed by amoxicillin, then azithromycin. Treatment lasts for 4 weeks. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected by being bitten by another infected tick.
How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Lyme disease is transmitted exclusively through tick bites. This means that it cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans, or from one animal to another. However, theres always a risk that a carrier tick could enter your home on your pups fur and get on family members or other pets. Dogs, cats, humans, and wildlife can all serve as carriers unknowingly allowing ticks to hitch a ride and move from outdoor locations into homes where the tick now has access to other humans or pets in the house.
If your four-legged companion is positive for Lyme disease, you and any other animals that have been in the same indoor or outdoor space might be at risk as well. If thats the case, speak to your doctor to find out if any tests are necessary.
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What To Do If My Dog Has A Tick
Despite all your best efforts, sometimes a tick will still take hold of your pooch. If your dog has a tick, then you will want to remove it as soon as possible.
To remove, follow these steps:
Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
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What Is A Tick
- A tick is a parasite that is 3 to 5 mm in size. They are so small that it can be hard to spot them immediately.
- They are the most common trouble for pets, especially the ones that roam outside more often.
- They feed on animals blood. Often time they go unnoticed because of their small size and painless bites.
- There are also different types of ticks. A deer tick is a common kind in the United States.
Transmission Of Lyme Disease
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are often found in tall-grasses, thick bushes, marshes, and in the woods, especially in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast. So if you and your dog happen to be around terrain similar to that, be on the lookout! Ticks are waiting to get your dog when he walks by, so its best to be careful in areas like this or better yet, stay away from them. The whole process is extremely fast. In fact, once a tick lands on the dog and bites him, it can transmit the disease in less than 48 hours.
Blacklegged ticks are the primary carriers of Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded and deep bushy, grassy areas, especially near the woods. Its hard to avoid ticks because ticks are a year-long problem and not specific to any season, but the majority of cases occur from October to March, so its important to keep that in mind when going outdoors with your dog. Ticks are crawlers that latch on to your dog by hanging out at the tips of bushes and grass and then jump onto your dogs skin.
Ticks are not exclusive to woods, though. Even city dogs can come in contact with ticks that carry Lyme disease. Ticks cant be dehydrated, so you wont find them in low-cut lawns out in the open.
Once you see the tick, its tempting to immediately take it off the dog with your fingers. But this is not recommended. Instead, get a pair of sharpened tweezers and grab them from the head as far down as possible.
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What Exactly Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, or Borreliosis, is a very infectious disease in dogs that comes from exposure to ticks. It has many dominant symptoms that you can quickly notice in your dog, mainly lameness in the joins. Its one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases, but despite that, it still only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. The ticks get into the dogs bloodstream through a bite and once in the bloodstream, the bacteria travels to different parts of the body and cause stiffness in specific joints and overall illnesses.
When a dog has Lyme disease, it suffers from inflammation in the joints, which means recurring lameness. This is a horrible sensation for dogs to feel and alongside it, they can also suffer from loss of appetite and depression, just to name a few. You dont want your furry friends to suffer from Lyme disease since its a very uncomfortable disease that can escalate into something fast, so its good to spot any red flags as early as possible.
When not detected on time, complications can arise from Lyme disease such as kidney problems, heart diseases, and nervous system failures. These are very rare but Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, or Bernese Mountain Dogs are unfortunately more at risk for kidney-related problems caused by Lyme disease.
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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Lyme Disease In Pets Symptoms And Treatment
Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:
- Joint swelling
Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.
Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.
Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.
Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, its important to follow your veterinarians advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for the disease.