Lyme disease is a severe issue that can affect people as well as our furry friends. This disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is spread by infected ticks. There are currently four known species of tick that are capable of spreading Lyme disease – Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus. However, most tickborne infections are distributed through a type that is colloquially known as the black-legged tick or deer ticks.
These arachnids carry a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that they transmit to the bloodstream of their victims by biting them. It is essential to recognize that Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease rather than the ticks themselves. The condition got its name after many cases were found in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut.
What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs?
One of the first symptoms of potential Lyme disease in dogs is a circular rash around the site of a bite. If you notice this, the infection can usually quickly be diagnosed. However, this rash does not always develop, and it is not always easily visible, so there are other clinical signs of Lyme disease to watch out for as the infection progresses.
If you notice the following common signs of Lyme disease in your dog, you should get them tested right away.
- Lower energy levels
- Joint swelling
- Stiffness or lameness
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty breathing
One of the best ways to spot these clinical signs of Lyme disease is to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and act on any changes you notice by taking them to the vet.
When Lyme disease isn’t treated early, it may progress and lead to kidney failure. This form of the disease is rare; however, it can be fatal. Therefore, it is imperative that you take your pet to the vet if you notice these common symptoms and clinical signs of Lyme disease.
How Lyme Disease in Dogs Is Diagnosed
Veterinarians can diagnose Lyme disease through a combination of symptom analysis, medical history, and diagnostic tests. Veterinarians are trained to recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs. Once they suspect that a pet has the disease, they will attempt to see if it was recently in a position where it could have contracted it.