What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?


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Lyme disease, also known as Borreliosis is a pretty serious condition in dogs. We love our pets with everything we have so when something like this affects them, itโ€™s more than a little saddening. Hereโ€™s everything that you need to know about Lyme disease so youโ€™re better prepared for it.The disease is transmitted through ticks โ€“ again reminding pet owners why tick preventative measures are of optimum importance. It only causes symptoms in just 5 to 10% of dogs that are affected. The most noticeable symptom to look out for once the infection has lead to disease in a dog, is lameness caused by the pain in his inflamed joints. He may also be experiencing depression as well as a lack of appetite.

Symptoms that your dog might have Lyme disease:

The lameness that many dogs who are suffering from Lyme disease show are recurrent. He may feel lame for a few days and be fine for a few, only to let it happen again after 2 days or so. He will experience lameness either in different legs or on the same leg over and over again. This is called shifting-leg lameness. This happens one or more of his joints are painful, warm, or swollen.In rare cases, some dogs are also known to develop problems with their kidneys. The disease can sometimes lead to the dysfunction of the kidneyโ€™s blood filter. It eventually causes kidney failure and your dog might start showing signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, lack of appetite, abnormal buildup of fluids, increased thirst and urination.

Some other symptoms are:
  • Sensitivity when touched.
  • Walking with an arched back (kind of stiff)
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Lymph nodes which are close to the site of the tick bite might appear swollen.
  • Sometimes your dog could experience heart abnormalities.
  • Complications with the nervous system has also been reported, but is rare.
What causes Lyme disease?

The bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease in dogs is called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is spread by hard-shelled, slow-feeding, deer ticks. The infection usually starts after the tick which carries the borrelia has been attached to the dogโ€™s body for more than 2 days.

How do you treat Lyme disease?

Unless your dog has severe problems with his kidney due to the disease, he will be treated as an outpatient. The most prescribed antibiotic for Lyme disease is doxycycline. There are however, other effective antibiotics available. The most recommended treatment length is around four weeks. In some, more serious cases however, a more lengthy treatment may be required. If your dog is in a lot of pain and is especially uncomfortable, your vet could also choose to prescribe an anti-inflammatory.

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