How to Know if Your Dog Has Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as canine borrelia, is a pathology that transmit ticks of the Ixodes type, infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorfer. It is one of the most common parasitic conditions in the world. If treated in time, this condition does not represent a serious danger for the pet. However if timely care is not received, infection can affect the joints, kidneys, heart or nervous system, complicating significantly the health of your animal.
In this OneHowTo.com article, we explain how to know if your dog has Lyme disease, which includes the symptoms, treatment and prognosis of this condition.
What is Lyme disease and how it is spread?
Lyme disease is a condition that affects both dogs and humans, and is transmitted by the bite of infected black-legged ticks with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The parasite contracts this bacteria when it bites animals such as deer or mice, which then carry it. It is for this reason that it is common among dogs that roam the countryside or natural environments.
It can affect dogs of any age and condition. The most important factor is to detect symptoms early to quickly address the problem and help your pet. At an early stage, this condition can be cured with antibiotics. However, if left to evolve, it affects areas such as joints, kidneys or the heart, with an unfavorable prognosis.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
In early stages, Lyme disease has no symptoms. The main signs that signal something is wrong with the dog can take weeks to appear. If you notice that your dog has ticks it is best to check the affected area frequently. If you notice that the red spot on the bite area has increased in size, it is time to take the animal to vet, even if it has no other symptoms. This could be a sign that your dog has canine borrelia .
After the first weeks of incubation, symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog can manifest as:
- Lameness in one or more legs as a result of joint inflammation, which is the most common symptom of the disease. It can last a few days and then disappear or recurrently occur without disappearing. If your dog has not suffered a blow or fall, this is cause for an immediate visit to the vet to rule out this condition.
- Swollen joints which are hot to the touch, achy and uncomfortable.
- The dog is listless and depressed.
- Fever as a result of infection.
- The animal walks with an arched back.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the area near the bite.
- Trouble breathing.
If the condition is not treated early, it can lead to kidney problems and may even cause kidney failure. You dog may also display symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst and urination, loss of appetite and fluid retention in the abdomen or legs.
How is this condition diagnosed?
If you suspect your dog has Lyme disease, go to the vet as soon as possible. You must inform the professional about important details such as the area where the pet was bitten, how soon the first symptoms began to appear, as well as any signal that allows the professional to determine how far the infection has advanced.
Blood tests, urine tests, as well as the removal of joint fluid or x-rays will determine the presence of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and thus diagnose this condition.
Treatment of Lyme disease
Given that it is a bacterial infection, treatment for Lyme disease in dogs begins with antibiotics. In addition, the veterinarian may also recommend the intake of pain medication to relieve discomfort for the pet. The amount of antibiotics and duration of treatment depends on the dog's condition; however, medication is usually given for a month to ensure the complete elimination of the bacteria.
If the infection has progressed sufficiently, the animal may still experience pain and joint discomfort even after the bacteria has disappeared, as an aftermath of the disease. Only in more serious cases where kidney or heart complications arise will the animal need hospitalization.
How to prevent Lyme disease?
The best way to prevent Lyme disease in dogs is to prevent your animal from contracting ticks. For this, you should deworm your dog as often as the vet recommends, making your dog?s health a priority. Aerosols, necklaces or pipettes are a good alternative to protect your pet against these parasites.
It is also important that, if you decide to take your dog to the countryside or green areas where ticks may abound, you always check its coat on your return. If you find a tick, remove it immediately, as this will reduce the possibility of spreading the disease. Take a look at our article to know what to do if a tick bites you.
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