Canine Lyme Disease
Canine Lyme Disease is one of the more common tick-transmitted diseases found in the world. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. When a tick carrying Lyme disease bites a dog, the organism will pass through the bloodstream and typically enter the joints. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include lameness, swollen and warm joints, and fever. However, since other diseases can also cause these symptoms and because not all positive dogs have an active infection, identifying Lyme disease in dogs can be challenging.
Symptoms of Canine Lyme Disease Include:
~ Lameness in the legs
~ Warm joints
~ A stiff walk with an arched back
~ Lack of appetite
~ Difficulty breathing
~ Kidney failure
~ Heart abnormalities (rare)
There are several options for protecting dogs against canine Lyme disease. One option is vaccination, which may be the best choice for pets who live in an endemic area. Annual vaccination is an affordable means of protecting pets against this disease, which can have serious health implications. Some dogs that are affected by canine Lyme disease are never fully "free" from this disease and may continue to exhibit symptoms even with treatment. Vaccination prior to infection provides the best possible outcome. If a vaccine is administered, a booster is necessary two to three weeks after the initial vaccination; then annual booster immunizations are recommended.
If your adult dog has never been vaccinated against Lyme disease, it is important to first test to determine if your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease. This test is often performed at the same time that a dog is being tested for heart worms, since there is a test kit that checks for both. Results are typically available within 15 - 20 minutes of testing. if the test is positive, your veterinarian will recommend a follow-up test to see if there is any active infection.
Without proactive treatment, most dogs will eventually develop serious kidney problems and, in many cases, renal failure. Symptoms of renal failure include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst at first, then it may change to not drinking enough. Even with treatment, some joint problems may not resolve. In fact, some pets continue to experience pain even after the bacteria is eradicated from their system. Consequently, vaccination is an important preventive against this disease.
If you suspect that your dog may have Lyme disease, blood tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. talk to your veterinarian about testing and vaccinating your dog.
This information is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation.
Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the health and/or care of your pet. (480) 893-0533
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