Do You Know the Facts About Canine Lyme Disease?

Image of a dog in the wilderness.

If your dog shows signs of stiffness or begins limping, you may assume that arthritis is to blame. Unfortunately, joint pain can also be a sign of canine Lyme disease. Learning the facts about this tick-borne disease can help you ensure that your pet receives prompt treatment.

How is Lyme Disease Transmitted?

People and animals develop Lyme disease after being bitten by a deer tick infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Lyme disease is only transmitted to a person or animal if the tick remains on their body for approximately 48 hours. Although most people exposed to the bacteria develop Lyme disease, only 5 percent of dogs ever show symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease symptoms typically appear about two to five months after your dog has been bitten by a tick. Pain and swelling due to joint inflammation is common. Your dog may start to walk stiffly or may not like being touched. He or she may favor one leg, but you might notice that the lame leg seems to vary depending on the day. Lameness can get better, only to begin again a week or two later.

A fever and loss of appetite can also occur if your dog has Lyme disease. Not surprisingly, infected dogs don't have a lot of energy and may be less active than usual. In some cases, dogs infected by the bacteria can develop kidney disease, although this complication is more likely if your dog is a golden or Labrador retriever, Bernese mountain dog or Shetland sheepdog.

How is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Since the symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to a variety of joint disorders, including degenerative arthritis, your dog's veterinarian will probably order a blood test if he or she suspects that your dog is affected. Many dogs have been exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, but unless there are symptoms, there is no need to start treatment. In addition to blood tests, the veterinarian may recommend urine and fecal tests and X-rays of the joints.

What is the Treatment for Lyme Disease?

Antibiotics are very effective in treating Lyme disease. Your dog's veterinarian may also prescribe a pain medication to reduce inflammation in the joints. Antibiotics usually help improve symptoms within a few days after your dog starts taking them.

How Can I Reduce the Chance That My Dog Will Get Lyme Disease?

Reducing your dog's exposure to ticks is the key to preventing Lyme disease. Examine your furry friend for ticks after trips outside, particularly if those trips involved a run in the woods or fields. Use monthly topical products that repel ticks. If you use a tick control product on your dog and a tick bites it, the tick will die before it can transmit the bacteria. Your veterinarian may also suggest a Lyme disease vaccination, which can reduce the chance that your dog will develop the disease if bitten. These vaccinations are usually only recommended if you live in an area with a high incidence of Lyme disease.

If your dog shows signs of lameness or any other of the symptoms of Lyme disease, give us a call. We perform a thorough examination to put your mind at ease and start treatment immediately, if needed.

Your First Visit is FREE

Sign up now

Office Hours

*Hours to see the doctor are by appointment only. Office open Saturday, but presently no doctor appts.

Monday:

8:00am

7:00pm

Tuesday:

8:00am

7:00pm

Wednesday:

8:00am

7:00pm

Thursday:

8:00am

7:00pm

Friday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Saturday:

8:00am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "This place is beyond phenomenal. I have taken my cat here for years and we always received loving care that is sometimes desperately needed. Unfortunately my cat did pass last year, but they were here with us until the very end. If I ever get another furry companion I'll be sure to be back."
    C.K.III / Columbia, PA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Skunks

    Home and Veterinary Care for Pet Skunks If you're an adventurous pet owner, you may love exotic animals such as skunks. You'll be happy to learn that skunks can indeed make excellent domestic pets, but only if they receive the proper care to enjoy a happy, healthy life. Your veterinary team can help ...

    Read More
  • Sugar Gliders

    Thinking of getting a sugar glider? These tiny marsupials are energetic and friendly, making them popular choices as pets. Though they weigh less than a half-pound, they're more closely related to kangaroos than they are flying squirrels. If you think a sugar glider would make an ideal pet for your family, ...

    Read More
  • Flying Squirrels

    Much like sugar gliders, flying squirrels make affectionate pets when purchased young and raised by their owner. Unlike sugar gliders, however, flying squirrels are rodents that need veterinary care specific to the species. Your veterinary team can help with the care and treatment of flying squirrels. ...

    Read More
  • Rats

    Did you know rats make surprisingly affectionate pets? If you're thinking of bringing home a pet rat, here's what you need to know. Health Rats that are bred especially as pets are safe to keep and should be free of disease. But common conditions may affect your rats from time to time. Your veterinarian ...

    Read More
  • Chinchillas

    Chinchillas are playful, loveable, and amusing pets. If you want yours to remain in your family for long, you should ensure that it has a good diet. Chinchillas require a lot of attention due to their playful nature; therefore, it is best to have supervised playtime with yours if you want to create a ...

    Read More
  • Fennec Foxes

    Fennec Fox Care Guide With oversized ears and mischievous faces, fennec foxes are cute as can be. But these exotic pets require a lot of care to stay healthy and happy. Health At just three pounds, fennec foxes are the smallest member of the fox family. Native to the Sahara desert, fennec foxes are ...

    Read More
  • Guinea Pigs

    Curious and inquisitive by nature, guinea pigs make great pets. These little bundles of fur are quite social and enjoy spending time with the people who handle, feed, and groom them. As a pet, guinea pigs are relatively low maintenance, rarely aggressive, and fun to own. How to Care Guinea pigs are playful, ...

    Read More
  • Prairie Dogs

    Prairie dogs are cute, affable creatures. But before taking one on as a pet, check your local laws. In some states, such as Colorado, it's illegal to keep prairie dogs as pets. Mostly, this is because they may spread monkeypox. If you live in a state that welcomes pet prairie dogs, be sure to buy from ...

    Read More
  • Gerbils

    Gerbils are great little pets for pet owners who don't have room for a dog or cat. They're friendly and fun to watch, but they do take a moderate level of care and investment. If you're thinking of getting a gerbil, here's what you'll need to know to keep him happy and healthy, including giving him a ...

    Read More
  • Hedgehogs

    Shy animals that roll into a ball when scared, hedgehogs are covered with spiky quills. They're small, clean, and fun to watch so they're quite popular as pets. Even so, these little guys need lots of activity to stay healthy. Health Hedgehogs can have health problems, including dental diseases, skin ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles