Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks who carry a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It's introduced into the bloodstream when a tick feeds on its host, and then the bacteria begin to multiply and cause an infection. Dogs who spend a substantial amount of time outside often acquire Lyme disease — there are numerous opportunities available for ticks to latch onto them and start feeding.
Thankfully, however, Lyme disease is rarely serious in dogs. In fact, most dogs will never show symptoms. However, veterinary services are important in dogs who do come down with symptoms, as Lyme disease can cause organ damage as it progresses. To learn more about how you can prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease and what you should do if you think your dog has it, read on for more information.
How Do You Prevent Your Dog From Getting Lyme Disease?
One good thing about Lyme disease is that it isn't transmitted immediately after a tick begins feeding — it can take up to 48 hours. Removing ticks regularly will substantially reduce the risk of your dog developing Lyme disease. You should examine your dog every day for ticks that may be on his or her coat. Pay special attention to the inside of the ears and inside skin folds, because ticks love to hide in these areas.
Any ticks that you see can be easily removed using tweezers. Wear gloves to protect yourself before you remove them — ticks often bleed during removal and can spread pathogens to you if you have a cut on your hand. Grasp the ticks firmly near their mouths and gently pull at them to remove them.
Your veterinarian can also recommend tick control products that you apply to your dog's coat every month. These products are poisonous to ticks, but they don't actually repel them. You'll still see ticks on your dog every once in a while, but they'll die too quickly to transmit Lyme disease.
Finally, you may want to have your dog vaccinated if your dog spends a lot of time outside and you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. It's administered by your veterinarian every year.
How Can You Tell if a Dog Has Lyme Disease?
In the majority of cases, dogs who have Lyme disease will never display any symptoms. In fact, it's common for owners to be unaware that their dogs are carriers of the bacteria.
Some dogs, however, will develop symptoms of Lyme disease. These occur about six months after the dog was bitten by an infected tick. Lyme disease causes severe systemic inflammation, which results in a dog suffering from a high fever, joint pain, and a lack of appetite.
In some cases, Lyme disease can progress to the point where it begins causing irreversible kidney damage. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are highly susceptible to this complication. To protect your dog's health, it's important to seek treatment at a veterinary clinic as soon as he or she starts displaying potential symptoms of Lyme disease.
How Can You Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs?
Thankfully, Lyme disease can be treated quite easily in dogs. It's much less complicated than treating it in humans. Your veterinarian will perform a quick blood test that checks for antibodies against the Lyme disease bacteria.
If these antibodies are found, it's a sign that your dog has acquired Lyme disease. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics that rapidly kill the bacteria causing the disease. In most cases, symptoms go away in a few days.
While dogs often develop Lyme disease if they spend a lot of time outside, it's not typically a major problem. Most dogs don't show symptoms, and it can be easily treated. If your dog does start showing symptoms of Lyme disease, however, early treatment is important. It can prevent the disease from causing permanent organ damage — seek veterinary clinic services as soon as you can so that your dog can be tested for the disease and started on antibiotics.
To learn more about Lyme disease in dogs, reach out to companies like Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic.Share
19 February 2020
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