Lyme Disease in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Lyme Disease in Dogs: What You Need to Know

tick with lyme disease

Warmer weather, especially up North, is right around the corner and you’re getting ready to savor the great outdoors with your furry best friend, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, when suddenly you notice something’s not quite right. Your pup seems a bit off, maybe a little lethargic, or perhaps they’re limping. What could the issue be? Well, one possibility you might not have considered is Lyme disease. 

 

Yep, that’s right, Lyme disease isn’t just a worry for us humans – our canine companions can get it too.  

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease, is caused by a sneaky little bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. These tiny troublemakers love to hang out in grassy, wooded areas, waiting for a chance to latch onto an unsuspecting host – including your precious pooch. 

 

Due to an unseasonably warm winter along the eastern seaboard, the tick population did not die out, meaning we’re going to see many of them this spring, summer, and fall. 

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Lyme Disease? 

Dogs can display several symptoms of Lyme disease, and the signs can vary from mild to severe. Some pups might not show any symptoms at all, while others might experience fever, lethargy, joint swelling, or even lameness.

 

If symptoms do develop, they are typically seen weeks to months after the bacteria is transmitted.

 

But fear not!  

 

There are steps you can take to protect your dog and keep them safe from Lyme disease:

  • Prevention is key. That means using tick control products, avoiding tick-infested areas when possible, and doing regular tick checks after outdoor adventures.
  • Vaccines are also available to help mitigate infections, although no vaccine is 100% effective.
     

Combining both strategies outlined above will help give your dog their own armor against those pesky parasites. 

What To Do if You Think Your Dog Has Lyme

If you suspect that your dog might have contracted Lyme disease, don’t wait – get them to the vet as soon as possible! Early detection and treatment are crucial for a speedy recovery and to minimize long-term effects.

If your vet isn’t available, PetMedic can run tests to confirm the diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate course of action, which may include antibiotics or other medications.

 

So, there you have it, – a crash course on Lyme disease in dogs. It might not be the most glamorous topic, but it’s very important, especially if you’re a pup parent who loves adventuring in the great outdoors. Remember, knowledge is power, so stay informed and keep your furry friends safe and happy. 

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Angelika Demers, CVT

Clinical Supervisor

Angelika started her animal health career in 2014 when she attended the University of Maine Augusta, Bangor campus, for Veterinary Technology. She graduated in early 2018 and became a Certified Veterinary Technician later that year. Her internship, and first veterinary field job, was at the MSPCA Angell in Boston, where she discovered her interest in emergency medicine. Throughout the years, she has continued to advance her knowledge in the field of emergency medicine, but also in cultivating relationships with patients and clients alike to offer the best quality care. Outside of work she likes hanging out with her cat, Mew, spending time outdoors, watching game shows, and photography.