What Does Lyme Disease Mean?
Lyme disease is also known as Lyme borreliosis. It is defined as a bacterial illness which can be transmitted to dogs, humans or other animals with a unique species of ticks known as deer or bear ticks.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi, it is spiral-shaped and carried inside the tick which then gets into the humans or the dog’s bloodstream through their bite. As soon as the bacteria reaches the blood, it travels to different body parts leading to the problems in specific locations or organs such as the joints, resulting in overall illness.
Ticks are the most common way this disease is spread. They are found in thick bushes, tall grass, woods or marshe and dogs can get ticks as soon as they pass nearby. Lyme disease is transmitted to the dogs within 24-48 hours.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs:
Lyme disease is considered as a relatively common type of canine disease. The symptoms might include reduced energy, fever or lameness.
The typical symptoms associated with Lyme disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Generalized stiffness
- Pain or discomfort
- Swelling of joints
- The symptoms might also result in kidney failure which might be fatal.
- The neurological severity or cardiac effects might also occur due to the Lyme disease.
How to Test the Dogs for Lyme Disease?
The veterinarian will perform the blood tests for checking the dog for positive symptoms of Lyme disease. The veterinarian will then examine the dog for signs.
The two kinds of blood tests are indicated. One includes the antibody test while other is the polymerase chain reaction test (PCR).
The antibody test detects the presence of antibodies which might develop in the dog’s body in reaction to the positive bacterium in the bloodstream. Recently infected dogs have high levels of antibodies in the test while the dogs who have been infected not as recently will have low levels of antibodies, which might show false negative results.
Other tests include the complete blood cell count, a urinalysis, X-rays, fecal examination or specific criteria such as Serology for diagnosing the Lyme disease.
What Is The Treatment Of Lyme Disease?
The treatment for Lyme disease includes the administration of antibiotics for several weeks. The antibiotic usage helps in resolving the symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms persist leading to the need for prolonged medications. The treatment might also require other therapies which may help in resolving the specific symptoms.
Can You Catch Lyme Disease from Dogs?
Dogs are not the direct source of how humans become infected. Lyme disease transmits through tick bites neither from one organ to another nor from dogs to humans. You might be at risk if your pet is diagnosed with the Lyme disease because you are living in the same environment.
You can avoid the tick bite by:
- Wearing long pants along with the light-colored socks while outdoors.
- Avoid staying in habitats such as tall grass, wood or dense brush.
- Use the tick-repellant sprays.
- While indoors, check for the presence of ticks on your body.
- Also be aware that these ticks might also carry other diseases such as babesiosis or anaplasmosis.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs?
So to conclude how you can prevent your dogs from catching Lyme disease?
You can avoid Lyme disease in your dog by not allowing them to roam around in an environment which is infested by ticks leading to Lyme disease. Check the skin and the dog’s coat daily and remove any ticks if present by hand.
The veterinarian might also suggest a specific collar, sprays or topical products which aid in killing and repelling ticks. The products should be used under the supervision of your veterinarian. The vaccinations for Lyme disease are also available. However, the use of vaccines is controversial.
Guest Post Written by Matt Barnett