Dr. Karen Becker Discussing Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease. What Is It, How to Prevent and Treat
Lyme disease is transmitted by a tick. It is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Only 5-10% of dogs infected.
Most often recurrent lameness is seen because of inflammation of the joints. The infected dog may also have a lack of appetite and depression. More serious symptoms may include damage to the kidneys an heart or nervous system disease, although this is rare.
Young dogs seem to be more susceptible to Lyme disease than older dogs. It has been reported in dogs throughout the US and Europe, but most prevalent in upper Midwestern states, Atlantic and Pacific coastal states.
Besides the symptoms already mentioned, others are:
Stiff walk with an arched back
Sensitivity to touch
Fever, lack of appetite and depression
Superficial lymph nodes close to the site may be swollen
Heart abnormalities, although this is rare
Nervous system complications, again this is rare
Avoid letting your dog roam in a woody area or other tick-infested environments. Check your dog’s coat and skin daily. Remove all ticks by hand.
There are also a variety of sprays, collars and topical products that kill and repel ticks.
If a dog is infected the veterinarian will treat them as an outpatient unless their condition is serious. They will prescribe and antibiotic specifically for Lyme disease, but there are other antibiotics that may also be used. They may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory pain reliever if the dog is uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate the infection. Symptoms may seem to go away, but then return later and the development of kidney disease may appear in the future.
There should be improvement within three to five days. If not, your veterinarian should examine the dog again.