May 6, 2006

Lyme Disease In Dogs Is A Serious Matter

Lyme disease is caused by an organism known as a spirochete,which is a coiled rod-shaped bacterium and named Borreliaburgdorferi. It is passed to dogs and people by deer tickscarrying the infection; the ticks get the infection from thewhite-footed mouse, which acts as a carrier. The only way a tickcan transmit the bacteria is to remain attached to the animal’sskin for one to two days. Unfortunately, these ticks are verysmall and easily can go unnoticed. Lyme disease in dogs has beenfound worldwide and in ancient Chinese medical literature theyactually describe a syndrome very similar to Lyme disease,thousands of years before Lyme , Connecticut was named. In theUnited States , more than 90% of the cases occur in theNortheast, with California and Mississippi second. Lyme diseasein dogs is fairly common, but rarely seen in cats, although somecats have been infected with it.

The main clinical signs of Lyme disease in dogs include a suddenyet recurring lameness that may shift from leg to leg. Sometimesthis lameness is associated with a fever and depression.Occasionally you will see swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes thejoints may be swollen, feel warm, and it’s very painful. The doginfected will usually walk stiffly with a hunched back. Lymedisease in dogs is really very painful and they commonly arevery sensitive to touch and may cry out with even the slightesttouch. Many dogs with Lyme disease that were diagnosed withslipped discs in their neck and crying in pain and it wasactually Lyme disease causes muscle spasms in the neck and theyonly improved when they were administered the appropriateantibiotic. Sometimes you will see the classic red round targetlesion around a tick bite on your pet and within a few days theymay show the signs of lameness, fever and sensitivity to touch.If you suspect your pet has Lyme disease, take them to the vetimmediately for treatment.


Treatment involves the use of an appropriate antibiotic, such asdoxycycline, for at least three to four weeks.


Dogs should begin to show signs of recovery two to three daysafter beginning treatment. However, the disease may recur withina few weeks or months; in these cases, the dog will need toreturn to antibiotic therapy for extended periods.


There is a vaccine for the prevention of Lyme disease. Quickremoval of a tick also will help prevent Lyme disease becausethe tick must remain attached to the dog’s body for one to twodays before the disease can be transmitted. Consult with aveterinarian about the different tick prevention products thatare available, as they can be an effective way to prevent thedisease. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner your petwill be without pain.

About the author:

LeeAnna is an expert author who writes for Lyme Disease inDogs


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