Lyme disease can be hard to detect and can cause serious, ongoing health problems in both dogs and people. It was first named when a number of cases occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. Learn all about it by reading below.

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is transmitted through a deer tick called Lxodes Scapularis and is an inflammatory disease caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria. If not detected early, this disease is known to attack many systems in your dog’s body.

Year-Round

“It's a common misconception that ticks die in the winter. On the contrary, however, experts say they really just hunker down and wait for the first warm day. So, that makes stopping your pet's tick control medicine during the winter months a risky thing to do. It is not a seasonal disease. So, year-round diligence, year-round protection for dogs is essential,” reports CBS News.

Can my dog get Lyme Disease? Yes, Lyme disease is an illness that affects both animals and humans. It is known as a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic means infectious diseases that are spread between animals and people.

Lyme disease is not communicable from one animal to another, except through tick bites. However, if you have more than one pet and one is diagnosed with Lyme disease, your veterinarian might recommend testing for any other pets who may have been exposed to ticks at the same time.

Symptoms? The common symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are joint pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes and joints, lameness, loss of appetite, decreased activity, kidney problems, and occasionally neurological issues. No two cases are exactly alike so your dog may not have all of these symptoms. Most dogs do not experience immediate symptoms. The symptoms may not show up for 2-5 months.

What to do if your dog has some of these symptoms? Take your dog to your Vet. Timing is everything with Lyme Disease. It is extremely important to catch it early in dogs.

There are several tests that can be done in-office and out of the vet’s office.

  • Idexx SNAP® 3Dx® test - samples a drop of your pet’s blood.
  • Western Blot test
  • Idexx Quantitative C6 test

Treatment? Most Veterinarians recommend a 30-day treatment of doxycycline. In some cases, especially those where the disease has begun to target a dog’s kidneys, the dosage will exceed 30 days. Remadyl may also be prescribes to assist with joint pain.

Prevention? Best tips for preventing Lyme disease for your dog are:

  • keep the grass short where your dog walks
  • use flea/tick prevention on your pet
  • check your pet daily for ticks by using a tick comb, and
  • avoid allowing your furry friend to go in areas where wildlife frequents
  • consider vaccines available to prevent Lyme disease in dogs; however, many vaccines possess risk factors

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.