Lyme disease is an infectious disease that occurs if the causative bacterium enters the bloodstream through a tick bite. Ticks are small insects that can contact your dog’s body and lead to adverse effects. Dogs are more susceptible to Lyme disease compared to humans as they cannot protect themselves from ticks. The problem starts when your dog comes in contact with the ground where ticks are present. Once the ticks get into the body, they spread the bacteria to the joints and other organs. Woods are the most common breeding places of ticks.
Origins Of Lyme Disease
Ticks generally thrive in temperate climates, and both adult and nymph ticks are the sources of Lyme disease as they carry the causative bacteria. Several studies have shown that this disease affects dogs living in coasts and Upper Midwest. According to reports, dogs in Northern USA are more prone to this disease. They come out in full force during the spring season but can affect your dog year round. Black-legged ticks are mostly responsible for spreading Lyme disease.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
It is not so easy to identify if your dog is suffering from Lyme disease. It’s because of the reason that only 5 to 10% of dogs exhibit the actual symptoms. Still, it is better to know the common symptoms to build a sense of awareness beforehand.
- Lyme disease primarily results in inflammation or pain or swelling of the joints.
- Sudden fever, lack of thirst or urination are the associated symptoms of this disease.
- If your dog is suffering from Lyme disease, then it will have arching at the back and difficulties in walking.
- Your dog will get into depression, and its behavior will change drastically.
- The lymph node near the tick bite will begin to swell.
- Your dog will have difficulties in breathing.
- If the Lym disease affects your dog’s kidney, then it will lead to frequent vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, increased urination, and many more side effects.
Diagnostic Tests For Lyme Disease In Dogs
If you find a tick on your dog’s body or any signs of its presence, then it’s essential to test your dog. To do that, you can go for two blood tests. One is ‘antibody test,’ and the other one is ‘Polymerase Chain Reaction’ test.
Antibody tests help to detect whether your dog’s body has enough antibodies to combat Lyme disease or not. If your dog is going through an infection for an extended period, then its blood may not contain these antibodies. Whereas, PCR test helps to detect the bacterium in your dog’s DNA.
A 4DX Snap, heartworm, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma tests are some related diagnostics for treating Lyme disease.
How Long Can A Dog Live With Lime Disease?
Decades ago, there were no such good treatment regimes to cure Lyme disease. And hence, dogs used to die from this disease. But now, with scientific advancement, it has become possible to give a new life to your dearest friend. Now, there are accurate and reliable testing methods to detect Lyme disease before it gets out of control completely. If you can detect Lyme disease at an early stage, then you can save your dog from kidney failure, heart issues, and nervous system damage.
If the symptoms continue to persist and become more prominent, then your dog is having chronic Lyme disease. Then, you can try to reduce the symptoms, but it is not possible to eradicate the disease. Once you have detected Lyme disease in your dog, keep your dog under strict vigilance and evaluate its condition regularly.
Preventing Lyme Disease In Dogs
Once a bacteria-harboring tick attaches itself to your dog, it starts transmitting Lyme disease, within 24 hours. Hence, when you take your dog outside your home, check your dog for ticks after returning indoors. Take special care while inspecting your dog’s legs and underbelly. If you find a tick, then remove it immediately from your dog’s body. After that, monitor your dog for a few days to check whether it is exhibiting any of the symptoms of Lyme disease or not. If the tick has transmitted the disease, then you will come across at least one symptom in the coming weeks.
If you have a puppy or an older dog, then they are at a higher risk of getting affected by Lyme disease. Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Shetland Sheepdogs are the breeds that mostly suffer from this disease. Moreover, you can give tick or flea medication to your dog to build its immune system for preventing Lyme disease. Tick medication both in the pill or liquid form is an equally effective line of defense for fighting against Lyme.
How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs?
Doxycycline is an antibiotic that veterinarians generally prescribe to treat Lyme disease if your dog’s condition is stable. But, if Lyme disease has adversely affected your dog’s kidney, then this medication won’t work. You can continue the medicine for four weeks. But, if the bacterial infection is severe, then you may need to use this medicine for some more weeks. If your dog feels uncomfortable after taking this medicine, then you can use an anti-inflammatory drug in conjunction.
You can give your dog Doxycycline twice a day after a gap of twelve hours for 30 days. The antibiotics start working immediately, and you will notice an improvement in your dog’s symptoms within 24 or 48 hours. You can contact a veterinarian if you do not find any improvements in your dog’s condition after 72 hours. A single course of antibiotics is sufficient to cure Lyme disease entirely, provided the disease is in the initial stages. But, this disease recurs in case of certain dogs. Still, there is nothing to be worried about as a proper dosage of medicine reduces the likelihood of lifelong consequences.
Consult A Veterinarian For Critical Lyme Disease Effects
If you are consulting a veterinarian, then provide him/her with the full medical history of your dog. Besides this, inform the veterinarian about the organs which are affected by Lyme disease. If the veterinarian deems it necessary, then he/she would recommend some blood tests along with a complete blood cell count. Urinalysis, fecal examinations, and serology are some more tests which your dog might have to go through.
The veterinarian may draw fluid from the affected joints of your dog and test it afterward. The vet may conduct a test to check whether Lyme disease has caused arthritis in your dog or not. You may need to do an X-ray of the painful joints in your dog’s body to analyze bones for abnormalities. If the veterinarian prescribes, then give topical and oral medicines to kill or repel ticks that have moved its way into your dog’s body.
Though these antibiotics hardly have any side effect, it’s always preferred to let the veterinarian administer the daily dose of the antibiotics.
So, give special attention to your dog and take adequate precautionary measures as discussed in this article. If you have gone through the article thoroughly, then you won’t have further difficulties in treating Lyme disease. Therefore, now it’s time to say that your dog can live a long and happy life even after contracting Lyme disease and with the right care and treatment.