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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

How do you know whether your dog has Lyme disease or not? What exactly are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs? These are questions I hadn't really thought about too much until this Summer. Why am I thinking about this now? I've had dogs all my life, but I've never seen ticks so bad before!

Do All Ticks Spread Lyme Disease?

At least that's what I thought in the past, and I'm sure there are others out there that don't know the fact that not all ticks spread this disease. There are many different kinds of ticks, which to name a few are the brown dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, American dog tick, and last but not least, the black-legged tick.

The only tick that actually carries this disease is the black-legged tick, which is also known as the dreaded deer tick. This tick is much smaller than most other ticks, so you have to look really close to even see them. They are around the size of a sesame seed and are either dark brown with red (females) and all dark brown (males).

Not even all deer ticks are carriers of Lyme disease. It all depends on where you live. Most cases have been found in the northeastern and north-central parts of the United States. Uh, oh. that's where I live...and I have five dogs that love running around outside.

I recommend checking your dog for ticks on a daily basis, especially if ticks are known to be out and about in your area! Lyme disease is not all you have to worry about! If you find one on your dog, remove it right away.

You can stop the tick from spreading Lyme disease to your dog if you remove it within 24 hours of it biting your dog.

The 4 Common Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Your dog will have the same kinds of symptoms many people affected with Lyme disease do, but sometimes your dog will not show any symptoms at all.

  1. Lethargy- is your dog sleeping more than usual?
  2. Painful joints or lameness- is your dog limping or favoring a leg that has no prior history of injury?
  3. Decreased appetite- is your dog not eating like it used to?
  4. Fever- Okay, this one can be a bit hard for most dog owners to check for, ahem, so if you're dog is having any of the first three symptoms, or even just acting different than normal, I would recommend bringing it to the veterinarian.

Testing for Lyme Disease

Although there are many different tests for Lyme disease which use either blood or tissue samples, your veterinarian may use what is called a SNAP test, a simple and quick blood test which can test for not only Lyme disease, but also heart worm, and other tick-borne diseases.

SNAP tests

  • SNAP Heartworm RT Test- tests for heartworm in dogs
  • SNAP 3Dx Test- tests for heartworm, Lyme disease, and also another disease carried by ticks, which is ehrlichiosis.
  • SNAP 4Dx Test- tests for all the above- heartworm, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and yet another tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis.

Tick Control

The use of year-round tick control, proper tick removal, and tick repellents may help your dog from being infected by the diseases carried by some ticks, but it's always a good idea to ask your veterinarian about the risks in your area. Some areas are higher than others in these diseases or may even have other ones you should be aware of, especially if you go for walks with your dog in wooded areas.

Treatment for Lyme Disease

Dogs that have been diagnosed as having Lyme disease are usually prescribed strong antibiotics to get rid of the infection caused by the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe antibiotics for your dog for about 28-30 days and then may do more testing to follow up on your dog's well being.

Lyme Disease Vaccine for Dogs

This has been quite a controversial subject, since the Lyme vaccine for people is no longer available. It seems there is belief that the vaccine may be worse than the actual disease itself. So, although it is available for your dog, I would really recommend that you ask your veterinarian's advice on whether you should have your dog vaccinated for it.

What About Those Other Diseases Carried by Ticks?

There are not any vaccines for the other tick-borne diseases, so I would recommend to avoid these nasty little critters as much as possible. There are tick repellents and other methods you can use to get rid of ticks.


Street Talk

Wow, you've got five dogs?! That will keep you in stories for sure. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
  about 4 years ago
  

Hi Cynthia, Yes, you read that right, five dogs! Hahaha, in fact I've been calling them my minions since they're always everywhere I go when I'[m home. They do keep us quite entertained since they're always doing something silly. Thanks for reading and commenting! Best wishes :) -Sherry

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Chris54  

Hi Sherry I just wanted to say: very nicely written and I for one certainly found this informative. Keep up the good articles Chris

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Chris, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it and I'm glad to hear you found it informative! Best wishes! -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Joan8  

I know when I lived near the woods in NJ I would cross country ski on the mountain trails and see little black dots by the trillions especially on a deer path which was great for this sport. until I asked a ranger what they were and he said deer ticks... That was a major ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Love your article. i knew a women who got Lyme disease and I broke my heart when she would have an episode. Good Informative reads. thanks

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Joan8, Wow, I can see why you didn't want to continue cross country skiing there! Ugh! I wouldn't want to either! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes, Lyme disease can be so terrible for everyone involved. Best wishes! -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Kymee  

EWW I hate ticks I live where my dogs get them, I even have one dog get tick fever. Tick fever uck almost lost her. I had never heard of it before. She had had no kidding at least 100 ticks on her. I did not know that there were different types either thank you for sharing the more we know the better we are. ; O) Kymee

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Kymee, I can't agree with you more, I absolutely hate ticks! They've been really bad here this Summer, but it seems they are now leaving our yard alone at least. In the late Spring, it seemed we kept finding ticks everywhere, although I think my son was the one who always came in with at least one on him every single day for awhile there. It seems the flea and tick collars on the dogs worked pretty good, so maybe I should put one on him too, lol. I even had a couple of them stuck on me this year and they usually never bother me for some reason. I haven't had any of our dogs get tick fever so far. Wow, that must have been awful when your dog had it! Glad to hear she made it through that okay! Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes and take care!:) -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Anna Ware  

Ticks are nasty little things for all animals and humans. Remember how quick mum was when to remove the dogs ticks. Thank you for a very informativ article.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Anna, Yes, they certainly are nasty little things! Don't want to have them hanging around any longer than you have to, since they might leave the dog and end up on someone else. Thank you for reading and commenting! Best wishes to you! -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Anna Ware  

Ticks are nasty little things for all animals and humans. Remember how quick mum was when to remove the dogs ticks. Thank you for a very informativ article.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Informative. Will certainly adopt your recommendations in terms of controlling ticks and their diseases.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Des, So far they seem to work for us here thankfully, since we have the five dogs going in and out the house all day, not to mention my youngest child...he's always running into the house and back out again too. Hope it works for you too! Best wishes and thank you very much for reading and commenting! -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
Cena  

Thanks Sherry for this important information. I better start checking on my aunty dog. Will it happen to cats?

Reply
  about 5 years ago
  

Hi Cena, Yes, that would be a good idea to check both your dog and cats, especially if your cats go outdoors too. It seems ticks favor areas such as the ears, under the neck or throat area, and under the "armpits" errr, leg pits? I guess, on dogs anyways. Probably the same for cats too. Miserable little things go for the armpits and between toes a lot on people too. At least from my experience with them. Thank you for reading and commenting! Best wishes to you! -Sherry

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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