Lyme Disease; Know the Signs and Prevention
I hate to admit this, because I try to be the best dog momma I can, but somehow one of my dogs has gotten Lyme Disease.
I always let my vet do her annual check and then I opt for a heartworm test (you just never know) and also test for Ehrlichia and Lyme Disease both tick borne diseases. I always make sure my dogs are current on yearly heartworm medication and treated for fleas and ticks, so I was a little surprised and saddened when his test came back positive for Lyme Disease.
When I lived in GA I thought the ticks were bad! But the nice thing about the ticks of that area was that they were the size of large grapes, and so it was easy to tell if your dog had picked up a tick there. The ticks of VA are much smaller and difficult if not impossible to see and or detect.
AND, we have 16 acres full of deer, opossums, raccoons and their ticks; plus we are avid hikers.
We once stopped (and were geocaching) and when I got back in the car I had hundreds, literally hundreds of ticks running all over my legs and shoes. I have never de-pantsed and driven so fast to a gas station for bug spray in my life!
I hate ticks!! Spiders and ticks are my nemesis!
But, I always do my best to make sure my dogs are protected too. So either the medication I was using failed, or somehow I failed at making sure they were adequately protected.
Like heartworm medication, flea and tick medication should be administered each month to adequately protect your dog. And, even though some of those medications are not tick repellents they do typically kill the tick in the 48 hours or so before the tick is able to spread diseases.
Recently I had a reader who’s dog had also been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, so I wanted to share some information.
Lyme Disease is the most common tick transmitted disease in the world (yes people can also get it). The dominant clinical in dog is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints.
- Loss of Appetite
- Heart (rare)
- And Nervous System disease (rare)
- Sensitive to Touch
- Stiff Walk
- Difficulty Breathing
Kidney disease appears to be more prevalent in Labrador, Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Young dogs appear to be more susceptible to the disease than older or adult dogs.
Some dogs may develop kidney problems and if left untreated can cause kidney failure.
Most dogs are treated with a 4 week course of antibiotics which can help with pain and other clinical signs.
Unfortunately symptoms do not always completely resolve and some dogs can have long term joint pain even if the bacteria is gone from the dog’s body.
Prevention is the key.
Keeping your dog on topical products to kill and repel fleas (speak to your veterinarian about which products are recommended for you area).
And, there is also a vaccine that he/she may recommend to keep your dog safe.
Arm yourself with knowledge and a little tick spray prior to your hike and a good tick check after your hike and hopefully you will be able to avoid this tick borne disease!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.