You don’t have to live in the woods and be exposed to deer ticks for your dog to be diagnosed with Lyme disease. All it takes is one bite from a deer tick and Lyme disease can spread. Typically, the tick must have been attached to your dog for at least 18 hours for Lyme disease to set in. Here’s some information to help you be on the lookout for some of the symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog.
The most prevalent symptom in a dog with Lyme disease is lameness due to inflammation of the joints. For some, this lameness is moderate and goes on for quite a long period of time. For others, their joints could be stiff and swollen for only three or four days but it can recur weeks later. Sometimes your dog will be lame in the same leg but, other times, it shifts from leg to leg.
Another, less common symptom of Lyme disease, is the development of kidney problems. Essentially, the disease causes inflammation and the body’s blood filter doesn’t function properly. If Lyme disease goes on long enough without being treated, the kidneys can shut down in renal failure.
Also, some dogs exhibit an arched back, have difficulty breathing and may run a fever along with joint inflammation.
The only way to deal with Lyme disease is to have it treated with antibiotics. You will want to see a veterinarian as soon as possible after you’ve noticed symptoms develop, and pay particular attention to the condition of the skin near the tick bite.
If your vet diagnoses Lyme disease, you will need to keep your dog warm and dry and control her activity until the symptoms have improved. Recommended treatment is about four weeks. Unfortunately, it’s possible your dog may suffer from Lyme disease for the rest of her life. Long-term joint pain could continue long after the bacteria has been eradicated.
If you live in a woody area where deer ticks are common, talk to your veterinarian about a combination of a topical flea and tick repellent as well as a tick collar to help keep your dog from getting Lyme disease. Your veterinarian can also discuss the Lyme disease vaccine with you which may be a good idea especially if you live in the woods.
Lyme disease is a serious illness for your dog. Make sure to use a preventive and see your vet if any symptoms occur.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com