Lyme disease is an infectious disease which affects all dogs and can be very dangerous to both you and it.
It is caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type and is spread by ticks. Although the season for ticks is during the summer, that doesn’t mean your dog isn’t already infected.
Infection is usually first noticed by an expanding area of redness on the skin, which can also be known as erythema migrans. This begins at the area where the first bite occurred.
Lymes disease can be a particularly dangerous infection for both dogs AND humans and can even cause death. It is generally transmitted through the bite of an adult tick or an infected nymph.
Signs your dog may be infected can differ greatly from those in humans. These symptoms usually occur at a later time, after the bite from a tick. CLinical illness signs in dogs, tend to occur from 2 to 5 months after a bite from an infected tick. Dogs can show several forms of the disease, though the main sign is a high fever of up to 40 degrees celsius.
Other signs include the swelling of joints, a lack of energy, loss of appetite and swollen lymph nodes. In severe cases, a dog can develop progressive kidney disease, though this is not common. This kidney failure is very difficult to treat and often results in the death of the animal. It is usually recommended by a vet to get your dog’s kidney function checked via blood tests, to ensure normal kidney function.
Some dogs may also develop nervous system disease or even heart problems, after becoming infected. Dogs do not develop a rash or redness at the bite area, like humans.
How its diagnosed:
Blood tests are usually carried out to diagnose the disease. A standard blood test can detect the antibodies, which lead to lymes disease. Many dogs show positive tests, though are not infected with Lymes disease. This means that although the dogs have been exposed to the disease, they have fought in themselves. Only around 10%of exposed dogs, tend to actually contract the infection.
Treatment and Prevention:
Treatment is very straightforward, nd usually entails using either penicillin-based antibiotics and an oral doxycycline. Both antibiotics have been proven to work equally well, though they must be administered for a minimum of 14 days, though 30 days is recommended.
Studies have shown that some animals may never rid themselves of the organism causing the disease, despite treatment. These animals may never show symptoms of the disease again, despite developing chronic infections.
Vaccinations can also be given, though their effectiveness is hotly debated. Vets can provide a different range of vaccines, though the two most common are amoxicillin and oral doxycycline. Tick collars can also be used, again though be careful which one you chose, as cheaper ones don’t work as well.
Although it may not be tick season, your beloved animal may have already contracted lyme disease. Stay vigilant, as it’s not only your pet that can suffer, but maybe you also.