Lyme disease is a disease that dogs get from a deer tick bite that allows the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Not all dogs are at risk for Lyme disease, only ones that live in specific areas of the or have been in these specific areas. Dogs in the Northeast from Massachusetts to Maryland North-central states, especially Wisconsin and Minnesota and the West coast, especially Northern California are at risk for this disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include a high fever, swollen lymphnodes, lameness, no appetite, swollen joints and the dog is often lethargic, wanting to be just left alone. Of course, anytime you discover a tick on your dog, remove it immediately and watch for these symptoms. Do not just assume that it is a summer cold. Take the dog to the veterinarian to be sure what is wrong and begin treatment to fix it.
At the veterinarian’s office, the dog will undergo a series of procedures, which will enable the veterinarian to diagnose and treat the Lyme disease. The first procedure will be a history of the dog with an emphasis on where it has been located lately. It is important for the veterinarian to know if it has been in an endemic area, such as areas mentioned earlier, and if the owner has noticed any ticks on the dog. The veterinarian will also pay close attention to any clinical symptoms such as a fever or swollen lymphnodes. The vet will also draw blood to perform blood tests. After getting all the information available, the veterinarian should be able to come to a diagnosis and be ready for treatment to begin.
Treatment for Lyme disease begins with Doxycycline, Ampicillin or Amoxycillin, which are all antibiotics, are given for thirsty days. If Doxycycline is prescribed, it will need to be given orally every 12 to 24 hours according to what the veterinarian prescribes. This antibiotic is lipid soluble and is relatively inexpensive, but cannot be given to growing dogs. If Amoxycillin or Ampicillin is prescribed, they are usually given every 8 hours. These two antibiotics are used most often when treating Lyme disease and are usually very successful. But, the antibiotic treatment does not eliminate the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease.
Lyme disease in dogs is basically a regional problem, so if your traveling throughout the with your dog, be sure to find out if you will be in one of these Lyme Disease epidemic areas. If so, take the proper precautions by using flea and tick control.