The thought of your dog being diagnosed with Lyme disease can be a difficult concept to stomach. After all, you love your dog and treat him as if he were just another member of the family.
Even though no pet owner ever wants to hear this news about their dog, it is still a very realistic situation that may arise as a pet owner. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on everything you need to know about this health issue and what you can do to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
If your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, educate yourself. What you want to do is learn about the side effects, its cause, and how to ultimately cure the disease and get your dog back to living his healthy life.
This article will review the fundamentals of Lyme disease in dogs while also going over possible symptoms such as seizures and neurological issues that may arise in severe cases.
What is Lyme Disease?
To start off, here’s a brief look at how this disease actually affects the body and where it comes from. Lyme disease is an infectious tick-borne condition that causes lameness, lethargy, and a number of different symptoms in both humans and animals.
A tick containing the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can infect a dog through a bite, which will then spread throughout the rest of his body through his bloodstream. Once this happens, different areas of the body can be affected and experience further complications as the condition worsens.
When talking about Lyme disease in dogs, it’s important to know that not all dogs exposed to this particular bacteria will actually contract the disease. It is only a small percentage of animals who develop symptoms and become sick once bitten by an infected tick.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Most dogs who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease experience lameness, swelling, and pain due to inflammation in their joints. Other common symptoms that are linked to this condition include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Generalized stiffness
Can Lyme Disease Cause Seizures in Dogs?
Although rare, Lyme disease can cause seizures in dogs. If seizures do occur, this is often only in extreme cases where the animal has been infected for a long time without treatment. If a dog is experiencing seizures due to complications from Lyme disease, he is probably also suffering from other severe neurological problems as well.
Keep in mind, this is hardly the case when a dog becomes diagnosed with Lyme disease. Most animals will experience the physical side effects of inflammation and fever, however as long as it is caught early on, you will be able to avoid majority of the other severe side effects that can cause long-term or permanent damage.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease From Affecting Your Dog
It’s impossible to prevent Lyme disease from affecting your furry companion; however, there are several precautionary steps you can take to limit his risk. For starters, try to reduce his exposure to outdoor environments with dense shrubs and wooded areas if you live in the Midwest or the Northeast. These areas of the United States are endemic to Lyme disease and show a higher amount of cases coming from these regions.
Once playtime is over, check his coat for any ticks that may be hiding out in his fur. Use a pair of gloves to remove the specimen, so you do not get bitten by an infected tick yourself. Although it is impossible to check every time your dog goes outside, it is still recommended to comb through his coat and look for ticks as much as you can.
If you are from an area that is linked to Lyme disease, talk to your vet about other precautionary measures you should be taking. There are several tick preventatives in the form of supplements that can also repel these pesky bugs. In some cases, vets may also recommend a Lyme Disease vaccination if they feel it is necessary.
One of the most critical factors to help keep your pup in optimal condition is to take him in for frequent check-ups with his veterinarian. Oftentimes, these annual visits are the only way a health complication can be found in your four-legged friend, especially if he is not showing any symptoms.
Even if you are careful and your dog still gets Lyme disease, make sure to treat the issue as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your loving pet to develop neurological disorders such as seizures or epilepsy just because his Lyme disease was not treated in a fast enough manner.
If you think your dog is suffering from this condition, take him to the vet right away. As long as your dog has been given treatment during the early stage of the disease, he should be able to make a full recovery within a month or two.