Lyme Disease & Your Dog

Most dog owners will have heard of Lyme disease. It is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases but only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs - most often recurrent lameness due to joint inflammation. Here in Worcestershire the team is well versed in how to spot the signs of Lyme disease and how to treat the condition, so if you have any further concerns after reading this article, we will be happy to advise when you contact us.

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Symptoms of Lyme disease

If a dog develops Lyme disease it is likely to become lame due to joint inflammation. Sometimes this lasts for just three or four days but can recur days to weeks later, in the same leg or other legs. This is known as 'shifting-leg lameness' and one or more joints may be swollen, warm, and painful. Some dogs may also develop kidney problems leading to kidney failure with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid build-ups. Here's a list of other symptoms that head vet Rod Stroud suggests you look out for after walking your dog in areas known to harbour ticks รข€“ such as sheep-grazing land or woodland where deer may live.

  • Stiff walk with arched back
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, lack of appetite, depression
  • Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
  • Heart abnormalities are reported, but rare
  • Nervous system complications (rare)

Treating dog Lyme disease

Doxycycline is the antibiotic most commonly prescribed for Lyme disease, but others are also available and effective. Recommended treatment length is usually four weeks, but longer courses may be necessary. Rod Stroud may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory to treat pain.

Preventing Lyme disease

Try not to let your dog run around in tick-infested environments where Lyme disease is common. Check your pet's coat and skin daily and remove ticks using a special tool designed to remove them safely. At Clent Hills Vets you will also find suggestions for sprays, collars and spot-on products that can kill and repel ticks. Vaccines are available, but it's best to talk to our team to see if that might be an option for your dog. We're here to help, so don't hesitate to contact us and ask about Lyme disease.

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