Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease in dogs is a devastating illness that is both preventable and treatable if caught in the early stages. What are some facts about Lyme disease in dogs that you should know to keep your best friend safe and healthy?
What causes Lyme disease in dogs? In short, ticks transmit the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease through saliva during a bite. Generally, it takes a day or two for an imbedded tick to infect an animal with the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, so it is extremely important to not only pay close attention to prevention, but to watch for ticks on your dog.
How can you prevent Lyme disease in dogs? To put it simply, avoid tick bites. Be sure to use flea and tick preventatives to deter ticks from your animal year around, but especially during warmer months. Vaccinate your pet if possible and check your dog regularly for ticks after spending time outdoors. Remember, while ticks are most common in wooded, grassy areas, your dog can just as easily pick up an infected tick in your own garden. Check your dog often for ticks—even if using a preventative—and learn how to properly remove a tick if you find one attached to your pet.
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs. Symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear for several weeks or months after the initial infection. Sometimes, owners forget about the tick bite and associate signs of Lyme disease with other causes or illnesses making it more difficult to diagnose and treat. As with humans, every dog is different, but during the early states of Lyme disease, your dog may show a loss of appetite, may limp, have a fever, seem to lack coordination or muscle control and be listless and lack energy.
What should you do if you think your dog has Lyme disease? If you pet has been bitten by a tick and shows signs of illness in the weeks or months following the bite, take him to the veterinarian for a blood test to see if Lyme disease is to blame. The early stages of Lyme disease are often successfully treated with antibiotics and pets may recover fully without any long lasting effects. If left untreated, Lyme disease may create a variety of complications such as kidney or neurological disorders.