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Things You Need to Know about Lyme Disease in Dogs

Are you familiar with Lyme disease? This bacterial disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is proliferated by ticks as they feed on their host. As they bite their host animal, the infected ticks transmit the bacteria, thereby spreading the disease.

In the wild, Lyme disease is commonly spread by the deer tick. It is small in size and is often undetected as it feeds on its host animal. There are also instances when people are the host of deer ticks.

In the domestic environment, Lyme disease affects common household animals like cats and dogs. But did you know 95 percent of dogs do not develop symptoms of Lyme disease as a result B. burgdorferi infection? However, people are likely to feel ill.

Risk Factors for Lyme Disease

Spending a lot of time outdoors is a common factor for Lyme disease infection in dogs. Ticks from the yard can hitch a ride and can be transmitted onto other animals interacting with the infected dog.

In the U.S., Lyme disease is prevalent in the Northeastern region, particularly along the Pacific coast, and in the Midwest territory. Since Lyme disease is closely linked with ticks, infections generally occur in spring to early fall; that’s about the same time as tick season.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The common signs of Lyme disease in dogs, which may be recurrent or short-lived, include fever, loss of appetite, limping or lameness of the legs, pain or swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy and in very serious cases, kidney disease.

Some dogs also display signs of depression, heart problems, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and behavioral changes.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Diagnostic tests for Lyme disease include a quick history or background check as it relates to tick exposure, blood and urine tests, X-rays, taking a sample of joint fluid, checkup for kidney disease and other exams to rule out the existence of other health conditions bearing similar symptoms.

Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics, which need to be continued for a couple of weeks. While this mode of treatment may not completely eradicate the bacteria, it helps in alleviating the symptoms.

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