Lyme borreliosis, also known as Lyme disease, is a very serious bacterial illness that can affect both dogs and humans. For dogs, this disease can cause a slew of health problems and even be fatal in some cases.
Lyme disease is caused by a specific bacterium that typically enters your pet’s bloodstream via a tick bite. You dog can pick up a tick carrying Lyme disease from all sorts of places. Ticks typically like hide in thick, grassy areas or in trees. They patiently wait for an animal to pass by that they can latch onto for a blood meal. When a tick bites your dog, they can infect your dog with any sort of bacteria they’re carrying, including that which causes Lyme disease.
Once infected, it may take a little time before you notice there is anything wrong with your dog. Some signs of Lyme disease include a change in appetite, stiff or swollen joints, lethargy, and a fever. If left untreated, the disease an eventually cause fatal kidney failure in dogs. However, if your veterinarian is able to catch the disease quickly via a blood test, there are some course of treatment that can be tried. Typically a few weeks on a strong antibiotic is enough.
The good news is that if your pet does contact Lyme disease, they cannot pass it on to you or your family. In addition, cases of Lyme disease in dogs are not as common in Southern California as they are in other parts of the country.
As with anything prevention is the best medicine when it comes to fighting nasty bacterial infections like these. First, take precautions to try to protect your pet from being exposed to or bit by ticks. When you spend time outdoors, try not to let your pet rest in grassy areas where ticks like to hide. Once you’re done with your outing, thoroughly inspect your pet for any ticks. You will want to inspect yourself as well as ticks are known to hitch a ride on people as often as they do dogs.
If your pet is not already on a veterinarian approved flea and tick medicine, now is the time to start a regime. These pests can cause all sorts of health problems in dogs, so it’s best to make sure that your pet is protected. If you plan to spend time in an area where Lyme disease is more common, you may also have the option to vaccinate your pet against the disease. Talk to your veterinarian to see if they recommend this vaccine for your pet.
Lyme disease can only be diagnosed by a blood test conducted at your veterinarian’s office. If your pet is showing signs of Lyme disease, or if you’re concerned that they may have been recently exposed, contact our office to schedule an appointment. As with many medical conditions, an early diagnose gives your pet the best chance at making a full recovery.