Lyme Disease in Dogs: Is It Common? How Dangerous Is It?

You undoubtedly already know that ticks carry Lyme disease in dogs. Those disgusting parasites are always on the lookout for a warm host to feast on. Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, is present in some ticks.

However, you may not know that your dog may test positive for Lyme disease even when it does not have the condition. It is strange, isn’t it? But it’s true. According to the Tufts University Cummings School in Animal Medicine, an antibody test may indicate positive status. However, only approximately 5% of dogs tested positive for the disease. The excellent news for dog lovers everywhere!

Five percent of dogs have Lyme disease, so it is essential to know what to look out for if you think your pet has it. You and your veterinarian should also talk about the benefits and drawbacks of the Lyme vaccination. 

The second thing to remember is that fever and lameness may appear in dogs in as little as two to three days, while in others, it might take weeks or even months before symptoms appear. 

In other words, if you remove ten ticks from your dog in August, it may be Halloween when your dog begins to exhibit symptoms of the sickness. However, if you locate ticks on your dog and it begins to be sluggish, take it to the clinic as soon as possible. As compared to chronic Lyme disease, acute Lyme is simpler to treat.

Do you have a specific question about Lyme disease in dogs? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Can dogs get Lyme disease? 

The deer tick, which carries the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in dogs, may infect dogs and people. When searching for ticks in the surroundings, keep an eye out for those living in wooded areas (particularly near cedar trees), wetlands, long grass, and other densely wooded regions. 

Ticks carrying Lyme have spread throughout the United States in recent years. However, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest areas are the most at risk.

These tiny monster bugs may grab on and bite when your dog spends time in the woods, marshes, grass, or bushy places without sufficient tick protection onboard. It is a serious concern since those bites may transport bacteria that cause Lyme disease to your dog’s bloodstream.

Is Lyme disease common in dogs?

A piece of great news for dog owners! 5% of dogs have Lyme disease, so it’s important to know what to look out for if you think your pet has it.

How fast does Lyme Disease show up in dogs?

It may take weeks or even months for an infected tick to cause symptoms in a dog, and many dogs never exhibit any symptoms at all. Although it might take up to 9 weeks for specific tests to produce positive findings, fortunately, it is possible to identify whether or not a dog has been infected.

Is Lyme disease fatal to a dog? 

Lyme disease in dogs may lead to renal failure and possibly death if it is not treated. In addition, untreated Lyme disease may have devastating repercussions on the nervous and cardiovascular systems.

What does Lyme disease look like on a dog?

Before understanding the appearance of Lyme disease in dogs, we must know a bit more about ticks. So, let’s discuss bugs on dogs, including how to recognize ticks, extract ticks from your dog’s hair, and the danger of your dog developing Lyme disease.

Ticks wait at the tips of grass and plants where they cannot leap or fly until a mammal’s skin brushes against them, and then they crawl to a cozy area to feed on the blood. Ticks may infect hedgehogs, cats, sheep, deer, and people. Spring and October are the best times to see them. 

Your dog’s hair should be checked after a stroll in a wooded area or a grassy area for ticks. Even while most ticks aren’t harmful, they might make your pet feel uneasy. In addition to humans, dogs may get Lyme disease, which is difficult to detect but can lead to severe illness. 

Ticks exist in a wide variety of sizes and forms, but their most common appearance is that of a tiny, flat, black oval. Ticks may grow to the length of a coffee bean after feeding on blood. While they may first seem to be a wart on a dog’s skin, a closer study will reveal that they have eight limbs.

How to know if your dog has Lyme disease?

The most prevalent symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs are lameness, enlarged lymph nodes, joint swelling, tiredness, and weight loss when it comes to canine Lyme disease symptoms. In addition, severe problems with the kidneys have also been linked to canine Lyme disease.

Signs of Lyme disease in dogs are joint swelling and inflammation, leading to limping. This is the most telling symptom of the illness since the others are so frequent and may be due to other reasons.

When your pet is licking or displaying indications of lameness, it is a warning sign that should not be ignored. You can witness your dog hobbling on one side for a few days before the discomfort moves to the other leg. Your veterinarian should be aware of this “changing lameness” as an indication of Lyme illness.

If your dog is limping and his joints are swollen, you should take him to the clinic and get him checked for Lyme disease.

A lack of desire to consume food may also be an indication. Your dog’s abruptly diminishing appetite is typically an indication of illness, particularly if you have a dog that is ordinarily extremely eager to eat. Many things may cause this symptom, but it’s more likely that Lyme disease is to blame if it’s present with other symptoms.

Your pet may also be sluggish. It is also a warning sign, so keep an eye out for that. Moodiness and a lack of appetite are telltale signs that something is wrong.

Touching your dog’s nose is one method to know whether he has a fever. A cold, wet nose is a sign of good health. A hot and dry nose indicates a fever.

In addition to “changing lameness” and inflamed joints, these other signs are general markers that your dog is not feeling well. Another frequent symptom is a Lyme disease rash on a dog. Your veterinarian will do a blood test to establish whether Lyme disease is present.

Does Lyme disease cause seizures in dogs? 

Your dog may suffer from renal failure if he has Lyme disease. This is definitely deadly. The illness type that affects the neurological system has been linked to facial paralysis or seizure disorders.

Is Lyme disease fatal to a dog?

Early signs of Lyme disease in dogs may escalate to renal failure and even death if left untreated. In addition, due to untreated Lyme disease, there may be severe neurological and cardiac consequences.

Dog Lyme disease life expectancy

If appropriately treated within a month, Lyme disease flare-up symptoms in dogs have little effect on a dog’s general health or life expectancy. 

Long term effects of Lyme disease in dogs

How long can a dog live with Lyme disease? Leaving Lyme illness untreated or waiting too long to cure it, your dog may develop renal failure, heart disease, neurological disorders, and long-term joint discomfort and arthritis because of Lyme disease.

Does Lyme disease go away in dogs?

The symptoms of your pup’s illness should go away during the first three days of therapy if you catch it early enough. But, unfortunately, dogs infected with Lyme disease might stay positive for the remainder of their lives, even if treatment is successful.

What happens if Lyme disease goes untreated in dogs?

How does Lyme disease affect a dog? If left untreated, Lyme disease may cause renal, neurological system, and heart problems.

Avoidance is the best form of prevention. Ticks attach themselves to grasses, bushes, and tree branches close to the ground. Ticks are much more likely to adhere in these locations than in dry ones in moist conditions. And they will most likely attach themselves to people and animals’ hair and clothes if they contact them. So keep an eye on your surroundings to ensure that you and your pup are in no danger.

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