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  • Ashley C., CVT

Lyme Disease in Dogs: Awareness and Prevention

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted by the deer tick, also called the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) . When a tick attaches, it takes 24-48 hours to transmit Lyme disease. Ticks like to live in wooded areas, shady areas, and tall grasses and fields. Ticks can survive all year long, but thrive in the spring and fall months.

The earlier you spot Lyme disease in your dog, the easier it will be to treat them. Untreated Lyme disease can cause serious health implications and even fatality in dogs.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Know the signs of Lyme disease in dogs. Noticeable symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Shifting lameness

  • Limping

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Vomiting

  • Decreased appetite

‍If you are concerned about changes in the behavior or health of your dog, contact your vet as soon as possible to get an appointment. The sooner you treat the symptoms of Lyme disease, the healthier your dog can be.

Consequences of Lyme Disease

Though Lyme disease usually settles in the joints, it can set up camp in the kidneys as well. When this happens, it is known as Lyme nephritis. Lyme nephritis causes acute kidney failure that is oftentimes irreversible. This condition requires immediate hospitalization for aggressive treatment that includes IV fluids, antibiotics, and medication to aid in kidney function . While their condition may improve, it is unlikely to completely resolve.

How To Prevent Lyme Disease

Prevention is key! It is best to keep all the pets in your home and reliable flea and tick protection year round. When coming in from the outdoors, do a thorough check of your dog! Ticks like to attach in warm, dark places such as in and around the ears, groin area, and under the front legs. For dogs who spend lots of time outdoors or who live in an area with lots of Lyme Disease, there is a yearly vaccine your dog can get. Talk to your veterinarian today about preventative measures to protect your dog from ticks.


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