Lyme Disease in Dogs Symptoms To Watch Out For

Lyme Disease in DogsEarly Symptoms and Long Term Effects

Canine Lyme disease, compared to human Lyme disease, is an infection that is hard to detect early due to a lack of serious symptoms. Lyme disease in dogs usually causes a superficial rash around the site of the bite, which is difficult to see on dogs with average hair lengths. This rash rarely causes any discomfort to the affected canine, making it even less likely to be noticed. While about 30% of humans would begin showing symptoms within a few weeks of infection, Lyme disease in dogs doesn’t manifest for a fairly long time after infection. The main dog Lyme disease symptom is chronic joint pain brought on by extended immune system stimulation. This stimulation is also the cause of the most serious, but rare, symptom of Lyme disease known as A-V block. A-V block is, again, rare, but is serious as it is a heart rhythm disturbance. Heart rhythm issues can cause a plethora of side effects from lack of energy/stamina, to femoral pulse pressure inconsistencies. A-V block effects are easy to pick up on and all would warrant a trip to the vet. Second to heart problems, but still very serious, kidney damage can also result from long term immune responses. Detection is easy with regular blood and urine testing at your dog’s annual checkups.

Avoiding Lyme Disease in the First Place

Avoiding Lyme disease in dogs is quite simple. Since the disease is only caused by a specific species of bacteria (Ixodes scapularis), carried by deer ticks, and only transmitted through a bite from a carrier tick, the best defense involves keeping the ticks off your dog. A massive market of shampoos, collars, monthly topical treatments, and sprays are available for repelling ticks, and most are inexpensive and repel other pests such as fleas. Also, because deer ticks mostly only occupy the northeastern U.S., much of the country has nothing to worry about.

A dog Lyme disease vaccine is available for those that want an extra protective wall against the disease. The vaccine isn’t cheap and, again, Lyme disease in dogs isn’t a major problem even in the Northeast. Best bet is to keep up with regular flea and tick repellent application to avoid contact in the first place.