Search
 

Lyme Disease in Dogs

If you live in a densely forested area, you probably already know that you need to do regular checks of your dog's coat and skin to ensure that they're tick-free. Ticks carry all sorts of ailments that can have long-lasting impacts for your pet, including Lyme disease, which is one of the most common tick diseases affecting dogs. Here's what you need to know about the illness.

Signs of Lyme disease in dogs

Lyme disease is known as “The Great Imitator" for a good reason. Just as in humans, the illness can mimic other issues dogs might have. If you're concerned about your pet, first look for common, general signs of the illness:

  • a change in appetite
  • sleepiness
  • vomiting

Then, pay attention for some other symptoms of Lyme disease. Your dog may:

  • limp on both legs at seperate times
  • display swollen and hot joints
  • exhibit excessive thirst
  • have hard lumps behind their jaw, on the back of their thighs, or in the groin area (a sign of swollen lymph nodes reacting to Lyme bacteria)
  • have shallow, rapid breath

Most dogs never actually display any symptoms of illness and behave perfectly normal even when infected. In fact, when dogs do test positive, it is usually incidentally when they are screened each year for heartworm disease (the heartworm disease test also tests for tick diseases) at their annual trip to the veterinarian. If you see or remove ticks from your dog, keep some of the above symptoms in mind and schedule an appointment with your dog's vet.

Treating Lyme disease in dogs

Dogs test positive for Lyme disease in two ways. The first one, as explained above, occurs when a dog is annually screened for heartworm disease and also tests positive for Lyme disease. In these situations, the veterinarian may decide to prescribe a round of antibiotics to be on the safe side. For dogs that are sick, showing clinical signs, and test positive as a result of a vet's suspicion, antibiotics will be used in addition to other forms of supportive therapy. Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed, for example, depending upon the symptoms. Your dog's vet may schedule follow-up appointments.

Using a tick preventive that kills ticks, which may transmit Lyme disease, is key. There are also some tick prevention products that kill and repel ticks, which is important because if a tick is repelled, it cannot bite and transmit diseases, like Lyme disease. Effective tick control products can be found at the vet or over the counter at pet stores and online retailers.

 

Related articles:
Tick Diseases in Dogs
How to Remove a Tick from a Dog
Flea & Tick Life Cycle
Flea, Tick & Mosquito Seasonality & Geography

teaser-img

Tick disease. It only takes a bite.

See why protecting your dog from ticks is so important.

WATCH NOW

Bayer Products

  • Seresto® for large dogs packaging

    Seresto® for dogs

    An easy-to-use, odorless, non-greasy collar that kills and repels fleas and ticks for 8 months.

    Seresto® for dogs

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS
    CHEWING LICE
    CHEWING LICE

  • K9 Advantage® II for extra large dogs and large dogs packing

    K9 Advantix® II

    A once-monthly topical application that kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

    Do not use on Cats.

    K9 Advantix® II

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS
    MOSQUITOES
    MOSQUITOES
    BITING FLIES
    BITING FLIES
    CHEWING LICE
    CHEWING LICE

    Do not use on Cats.

  • Advantage® Treatment Shampoo for dogs & puppies.

    Advantage® Treatment Shampoo for dogs & puppies

    A treatment shampoo that kills fleas and ticks on contact.

    Advantage® Treatment Shampoo for dogs & puppies

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS