A zoonotic disease that affects animals and humans alike, Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis is a vector-borne disease that can be caught after being bitten by an infected species of anthropoid. In the United States, it has been the most reported vector-borne disease according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to research, as the transmission commonly occurs through tick bites, dogs may be more susceptible to it. With the way the disease is transmitted, it may be hard to detect. Moreover, it can lead to serious and recurrent illnesses. Because of this, specific measures such as tick prevention as well as vaccination may help in preventing your dog (or you for that matter) from getting infected.
- How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease?
- Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms: Six Indicators
- How To Test Your Dog For Lyme Disease?
- Emergency Fund
How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease?
Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium that looks like a worm with a spiral shape, is what causes Lyme disease. Most commonly, it is transmitted by the small black-legged tick called the deer tick. These ticks can usually be found in the forests or along woody, grassy, and marshy places in lakes, rivers, and oceans.
So how do dogs get in contact with these deer ticks? Oftentimes, they may get bitten during outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, strolling around nature parks, or even while playing in the backyard.
Read more: Dogs and Ticks: How to Treat Tick Bites
Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms: Six Indicators
Unfortunately, Lyme disease is quite common in dogs. So what are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs? Below are the dog Lyme disease symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of appetite;
- Lameness (ranging from shifting, recurrent, or intermittent);
- Pain, discomfort, and stiffness in general;
- Joint swelling.
The above symptoms may lead to kidney failure, which has the possibility to be fatal. Other health complications include serious cardiac or neurological problems.
To know whether your dog is exhibiting symptoms, having a pet camera may help so you can monitor your dog at home. One such camera is the Petcube Cam which is a smart, affordable, HD camera, that also has a 24/7 Online Vet service. With products like these, you get peace of mind when it comes to looking after your beloved pet/s.
How To Test Your Dog For Lyme Disease?
The diagnosis of Lyme disease in dogs involves several factors such as history, physical symptoms, and diagnostic tests. When it comes to dogs, there are 2 kinds of blood tests that are able to diagnose Lyme disease. These tests are the C6 test and the Quant C6 test, which are both performed by veterinarians to be able to diagnose the disease.
What the C6 test does is to be able to check for antibodies against the protein named “C6”. If there are antibodies present, this suggests that your dog may be infected with Lyme disease. Detection of the C6 antibodies ranges from 3-5 weeks after a dog has been bitten by an infected tick, and it may be found in a dog’s bloodstream even before they show any symptoms.
The next test to be performed by the vet is the Quant C6 test. Together with a urinalysis, this type of test will be able to determine whether antibiotics would be needed.
Antibiotics, which are usually given for at least 30 days, are the common treatment for Lyme disease as it normally resolves the symptoms fast. However, there are some cases when the infection stays, so the giving of medications may be extended. Among the other treatments that may be given are therapies to help relieve specific symptoms.
How can we prevent our dogs from getting Lyme disease as well as other tick-borne illnesses? Below are some prevention measures:
Inspect your dog every after they go outdoors
After your dog goes for a walk or if they have been to grassy and woody areas such as forests or parks, inspect them for ticks. Common areas of a dog’s body where ticks may hide include a dog’s feet (remember to look in between the toes too), around their eyes, lips, ears (both inside and outside), near their anus, and under their tails.
Remove the ticks that you see from your dog
The faster you find and remove the ticks from your dog, the fewer chances of them contracting a tick-borne infection. Get to know the right way to remove ticks such as getting tweezers that are specifically meant for removing ticks. If you are not able to do it, you contact your vet for help.
Consider veterinary-approved flea and tick prevention or elimination products
There are vet-approved products that are known to be effective in preventing and eliminating ticks and fleas from dogs.
During your dog's regular checkup, ask your vet to check for any ticks.
Veterinarians may be able to detect the ticks that you may have overlooked.
Avoid grassy areas
In your backyard, keep the grass short. When outdoors, lead your dog away from grassy-patched areas where ticks are more prone to be.
Vaccinate your dog
Lyme vaccine for dogs may be recommended to prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. Note that it may not be recommended for some dogs, so do consult with your vet first.
If you have 2 or more pets and one has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, your vet may recommend testing all your pets since they may have also been exposed to the ticks. This applies to pet owners as well since humans are also susceptible to the disease.
During pet health emergencies such as when our dog is suffering from complications due to Lyme disease, we want to be assured that our pet will be treated right away and that we have the necessary funds to pay the veterinary expenses. At the same time, we want to be able to talk to someone who has knowledge about the disease that our dog may be experiencing. Pet Emergency Fund provides all that and more.
With Pet Emergency Fund, you get $3000 for emergencies, and this covers up to 6 pets regardless of medical history, breed, and age. You also get same-day payment. Not to mention, you also get access to the Online Vet service that allows you to consult with certified vets anytime and anywhere. This service is the best pet insurance alternative that you can get.
What are the neurological symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs?
Among the possible neurological symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include hyperreflexia, astasia, and persistent convulsions. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, bring them to the vet to get checked. Most commonly, antibiotics may be given to address this.
Does the Lyme vaccine for dogs have side effects?
With healthy dogs, no major side effects have been observed. Do note that it's normal for some dogs to have some sensitivity after any vaccine. Among the more serious reactions after a vaccine is swelling and pain on the site of injection.
How long can a dog live with Lyme disease?
Thankfully, there have been advancements in medicine throughout the years. With the many treatments available now, dogs that contract the disease can fully recover. However, others may suffer from serious complications. With this, it is best to be able to detect the disease early so the appropriate treatment may be given with a higher chance of recovery.