lyme disease treatment and prevention tips for dogsLyme Disease affect about 5-10% of dogs. It causes inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite, depression, and sometimes damage to the kidneys and hearts in pets. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is transmitted from the bite of the deer tick to its victims. It occurs when the tick is attached to your dog one or two day. When your dog goes outdoors or plays in a park or woods the chances of getting Lyme disease increases.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

When your dog gets Lyme disease you might notice trouble walking and stiffness in their gait. This lasts a few day and keeps occurring every few weeks. It called shifting leg lameness where one or more joints in the legs of the dog are swollen. Some of the symptoms are stiffness when walking, trouble breathing, fever, lack of appetite, and swollen lymph nodes. These all all signs your dog may have been bitten by a tick and have Lyme disease.

Once the bacteria from the tick gets into the bloodstream it travels to other parts of the body. Ticks that carry this disease are found in tall grass, thick bushes, marshes, and woods. Ticks are found all years long but most active from October thru March. The tick must be attached at least 24 to 48 hours to transmit the disease.

Diagnosing and Treating Lyme Disease

When you bring your dog to Arrowhead Veterinary Clinic treatment starts with the vet taking a complete medical history of your dog’s symptoms. Two types of blood tests detect Lyme disease. One is an antibody test that detects antibodies formed if your dog has the bacteria in their blood. The second test called PCR detects the bacteria from the deer in the blood. Other tests used to diagnose Lyme disease are urine and fecal analysis, blood count, X-rays, and sometimes drawing fluid from joints.

Lyme disease in dogs is generally treated by the vet prescribing an antibiotic that must be given orally to your dog. It is usually an tetracycline or penicillin based antibiotics that must be given for two weeks to one month to work effectively. Some dogs develop chronic infections but most respond to these antibiotics. Our vets might give you a pain reliever too to give your dog for pain.

Prevention of Lyme Disease

Check your dog’s coat daily and remove ticks by hand if possible. Brushing his coat daily with a proper dog brush or comb will help remove ticks too. We can recommend t using tick sprays on the dog’s coat when you go outdoors. Tick Collars and topical products are effective in protecting your dog from ticks. Lyme vaccinations are available and should be given yearly to your pet.

Call us at Arrowhead Veterinary Clinic about your dog when you suspect Lyme Disease for an exam and treatment. Arrange to have your dog vaccinated yearly. Call 918-534-1958 for an appointment today.