What is it?
• Lyme disease affects both people and animals and is spread by ticks.
• Primarily dogs are affected – cats are more resistant to the disease.
• When canines are infected, it may take weeks to months for symptoms to show.
What causes it?
• Lyme disease is a tick-transmitted disease that is caused by spirochete bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi).
• The most common signs of the disease are fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and lameness.
• Lyme disease causes lameness, pain, and sometimes swelling in one or more joints, as well as swollen lymph nodes.
• In severe cases, kidney failure and death may occur.
What tests are needed?
• Your veterinarian will recommend blood and urine tests, abdominal and joint x-rays, and an ultrasound.
• Blood samples will be tested for antibodies.
How is it treated?
• An antibiotic, typically Doxycycline, is prescribed.
• Amoxicillin has been proven effective.
• To relieve joint pain, NSAIDs may be recommended.
• After treatment, be sure to treat all outdoor animals with a tick prevention medication monthly and vaccinate your pet against lyme disease.
What follow up care is needed?
• Clinical signs may reoccur for several weeks to months after infection.
• Vaccination may be recommended because treatment does not keep the animal for contracting the disease again.
• Be sure to monitor your animal for any ticks and treat them with a tick prevention medication.