You just found out that your furry companion has tested positive and been diagnosed with Lyme disease. You’re concerned about your dog and want to know everything there is to know about their condition. “How long does it last?”, “What are the symptoms?”, and “Can Lyme disease in dogs be cured?” are most likely the main questions that pet owners will ask.
If you find yourself in this position and are worried about your four-legged friend, stay calm. While it is critical that you learn everything about the condition, it is also important to understand the next necessary steps to take once they have been diagnosed to improve your dog’s health.
One of the biggest concerns among pet owners is whether Lyme disease in dogs is curable. Just know that this disease can be cured as long as the dog has received proper treatment at an early stage. However, it is crucial that you as the dog owner understand the ins and outs of this disease in order to treat it and get your dog back to living his normal and happy life.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious condition that is caused by a bacteria found in certain strains of ticks. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria live within the tick and can be transferred to their host’s blood through a tick bite. Once this happens, the animal becomes infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and can spread throughout the animal’s bloodstream to different areas of the body.
Not all animals that are bitten by a contaminated tick will contract this disease. In fact, only about 10% of dogs bitten by a tick with this bacteria will actually contract Lyme Disease.
The common deer tick is responsible for the majority of the cases found in the United States. Most cases occur when a dog has been exposed to endemic areas of Lyme disease. Although these ticks can be found around the United States, most cases come from highly wooded and dense areas, such as the upper Midwest, New York State, and the Northwest coast.
What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs?
Generally speaking, symptoms of Lyme disease can be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. Most animals infected with Lyme disease will show signs of lameness due to an inflammation of their joints. This lameness usually affects one of the legs but can reoccur in the same limb or switch to a different one later on.
In severe Lyme disease cases, some dogs can develop heart and kidney disease, as well as problems with their nervous system if the disease is left untreated.
Other common symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs include:
- Swollen Joints
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty breathing
- Arched back and a stiff walk
Is Lyme Disease in Dogs Curable?
Lyme disease in dogs is curable, however, this may depend on each case and at what stage of the disease the dog receives treatment during. Most dogs that are diagnosed with Lyme disease will be given a prescription of doxycycline, which is the most common type of antibiotic used to treat this condition. In most cases, symptoms will begin to lessen after 3 days of treatment.
When treating Lyme disease, it’s important to know that this illness is not always curable. While doxycycline can help tremendously with their symptoms, the infection can hide within their system months or years after they have been initially infected. Even if they have been completely cured, they can also be reinfected if they are exposed to the bacteria once again.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease
The first precautionary measure you can use to reduce your dog’s risk of developing Canine Lyme disease is tick removal. It is also advised to limit his exposure to woodsy, dense brush or any other area where Lyme Disease is present. If you live in an area where your dog would be exposed to this kind of environment, ask your veterinarian if a Lyme disease vaccination is right for him.
Lyme Disease Vaccination
As a dog owner, you have several options of vaccines that can prevent Lyme Disease. Typically, a veterinarian will assess the need for this specific vaccine based on your dog’s risk of exposure to ticks. It is recommended by veterinarians that your dog is tested for Canine Lyme disease, prior to receiving the vaccine. Contact your veterinarian if you think this Lyme Disease vaccination option is right for you and your dog.
Lastly, be sure to take your dog in for his regular check-ups. Whether it’s Lyme disease or any other condition, these frequent trips to the vet are the best way to identify any health issues before it’s too late.
If your dog has been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, start the treatment process as soon as possible. The sooner the disease has been diagnosed, the sooner you will be able to get your furry companion back to their normal self.