Your dog has just been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and you begin to panic. Although you know this condition is by no means a death sentence, you are still concerned about his health and want to make sure you do everything in your power to give him a fast recovery.
As you begin your research, you start to wonder, “Is Lyme disease in dogs contagious?” It’s a known fact that Lyme disease can also affect humans; however, that doesn’t mean you will contract the same condition as well.
The best thing you can do as a dog owner is to educate yourself on everything you need to know about this particular disease. Once you can identify the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog, you will be able to start the treatment process as soon as possible, increasing their chances of a full recovery.
What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?
Lyme disease is a condition that is caused by ticks infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Just like in humans, once an infectious tick has bitten their host, the bacteria can spread throughout their body and wreak havoc in different areas. It’s important to remember that not all ticks carry this bacteria and only a small percentage of dogs that have been exposed will actually contract the disease.
The main culprits of this disease are deer ticks with disease-causing bacteria, which are commonly found in the Northeast and Upper Midwest regions of the United States. If you live in an endemic area that has a history of Lyme disease, be extra cautious with your pets and take all precautionary measures to prevent the disease from occurring.
If your dog suffers a deer tick bite, it is best to take him to the vet as soon as possible to check for any signs of infection.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs
As with other tick-borne infections, the common symptoms for Lyme disease can be very general, which means diagnosing the source can be quite difficult. Dogs suffering an infection from Lyme disease will experience recurrent lameness in either one or multiple limbs.
Other common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Generalized stiffness
- Inflammation of the joints
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes
In severe cases, Lyme disease can cause liver damage, heart complications, kidney failure, or other issues in the nervous system. In order to prevent permanent damage from occurring, make sure to treat the infection as soon as possible.
Is Lyme Disease in Dogs Contagious?
As your mind starts racing between different questions and concerns, you begin to wonder, “Is Lyme disease in dogs contagious?”While this condition can affect humans as well, the actual infection cannot be transmitted from one source to another.
The only way Lyme disease can be spread from dog to human is if an infected tick that is living on the dog transfers over to the human. If your dog is playing in an outdoor area that is infested with infected ticks, it is possible that he can bring these specimens inside the house and transfer them to you.
In order to prevent this from happening, make sure you are constantly checking your dog for any ticks that may be hiding within his coat. If you do spot a tick, use gloves to remove the specimen to prevent it from biting you as well. If you are concerned about your dog bringing ticks into your home or yard, try using a tick control product recommended by your veterinarian.
How to Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs
Once your vet has been able to run a series of blood tests and looked for clinical signs, they will then be able to make a diagnosis of Lyme disease in your dog. Standard testing that may be used to diagnose the issue includes a urinalysis, fecal examinations, standard blood tests, and other specific exams catered to Lyme disease.
From there, your vet will prescribe antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin. If your dog is experiencing severe pain, they may also be prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce joint pain and swelling.
In normal cases, dogs can complete their antibiotic treatment program within their home and will show improvements within 3 to 5 days. If your dog is still showing signs or their symptoms are worsening after taking antibiotics, take them to their veterinarian for secondary analysis.
As a loving pet owner, take as many precautionary measures as possible to prevent your dog from contracting Lyme disease, especially if you live in an area that has a high rate of chronic Lyme disease. Aside from limiting your dog’s exposure to dense, wooded areas and checking his coat on a regular basis for ticks, also ask your veterinarian if he should be given a canine Lyme disease vaccination.
If your furry companion has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, just know he is going to be okay. As soon as you are able to spot symptoms and take him in for testing, the faster he will be able to get back to living his healthy and normal life.
- “Lyme Disease in Dogs: Symptoms, Testing, Treatment, and Prevention.” American Kennel Club, 20 Apr. 2018, Accessed 26 Dec 2017. www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/lyme-disease-in-dogs/.
- “Lyme Disease in Dogs.” PetMD, Accessed 26 Dec 2017. www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_lyme_disease.
- “How to Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs.” PetMD, Accessed 26 Dec 2017. www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/how-treat-lyme-disease.
- “Lyme Disease in Dogs.” Pet Health Network, Accessed 26 Dec 2017. www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/lyme-disease-dogs.
- “Lyme Disease in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention.” Healthy Pets, Accessed 26 Dec 2017. www.healthypets.mercola.com/lyme-disease-in-dogs.aspx.