facts about Lyme disease

5 Facts You May Not Know About Lyme Disease in Dogs


Maggie was a proud and attentive dog owner who loved spending time outdoors with her Golden Retriever, Daisy. Together, they enjoyed countless hikes and adventures in the great outdoors. But when Daisy started acting lethargic and showing signs of joint pain, Maggie’s concern grew. After a visit to the vet, she was shocked to learn that Daisy had contracted Lyme disease. This diagnosis led Maggie down a path of discovery, as she realized there was so much she didn’t know about this potentially dangerous condition.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through tick bites. The bacteria infects dogs’ joints, causing arthritis. Symptoms include lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause heart problems, kidney failure, seizures, paralysis, dementia, and death.

Ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, so prevention starts with reducing the number of ticks on your dog. This means keeping your dog indoors during peak tick season (spring and fall) and checking him regularly for ticks after he goes outside.

Checking your dog for ticks daily is essential because some ticks may not be attached when you find them. In addition, ticks can transmit diseases at any stage of development, including eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults.

Your veterinarian should thoroughly examine your dog to determine signs of Lyme disease. Your vet may recommend treatment with antibiotics if your dog shows symptoms. Here are five facts about Lyme disease in dogs:

Facts about Lyme Disease in dogs

1. Transmission is Relatively Fast

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Symptoms usually develop within two weeks of exposure, although some dogs might not show signs for 30 days. Once contracted, it can take up to 10 days to become symptomatic. However, once symptoms begin to occur, the disease progresses quickly.

The most common symptom of Lyme disease is lameness. Other symptoms include fever, lethargic behavior, lack of appetite, and swelling of the joints. If left untreated, the disease can lead to heart damage, arthritis, and neurological problems.

In addition to being contagious, ticks carry a variety of diseases. Some are spread via mosquitoes, while mites have others. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and bartonellosis.

2. Dogs Can Develop Lyme Nephritis

Lyme nephritis is a rare complication of Lyme disease. However, it is one of the most severe complications of Lyme disease. This complication occurs when bacteria from the tick bite spreads to the kidneys. The infection causes inflammation and scarring of the kidneys. If left untreated, the condition can lead to death.

The good news is that the early signs of Lyme nephritis are easy to spot. These include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and fever. The symptoms usually begin around three weeks after being bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease.

In addition to antibiotics, doctors recommend treating dogs with Lyme nephritis with corticosteroids. Corticosteroids help reduce swelling and inflammation in the kidneys. They also slow down the progression of the disease. However, this treatment has side effects, including increased thirst, urination, and appetite.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog might have Lyme nephritis.

3. Lyme Disease in Dogs Can Affect Everywhere

a dog scratching its body, lyme disease

Over 300 species of ticks carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. Technically, they are everywhere! Dogs who spend time outside risk contracting Lyme disease because they come into contact with infected ticks. However, this doesn’t mean every outdoor dog becomes sick. Only 10% of dogs exposed to Lyme disease become ill. 

While the disease may be most commonly seen in parts of North America and Europe, it has been detected in dogs across Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, South America and even Antarctica! That’s right – your pup can get Lyme Disease no matter where you live.

Further, it is essential to note that Lyme Disease has been diagnosed even in regions not previously considered prone to infection. This means you should always keep a close eye on your pup during outdoor activities anywhere in the world, as they may still be at risk for contracting Lyme Disease.

Additionally, many assume they will only need to check their pups for ticks when camping or hiking – however, this needs to be corrected! Ticks who transmit Lyme Disease live virtually all over the globe, so you are best served to check for any visitors each time your pup returns from playing outside

4. Most Deer Ticks are Infected with Lyme Disease

Even though you don’t see the ticks, infected ones could still feed on your dog. In addition, female deer ticks are twice as likely to transfer the disease to dogs than male ticks.

Deer Ticks are Tiny

The deer tick is the most common type of tick that carries Lyme disease. These tiny black insects feed on blood and can easily hide under leaves and grasses. They usually bite dogs in late spring and early summer.

While most dogs don’t show signs of being bitten by a tick, some do. A dog needs to have three bites within 24 hours of being outside to develop Lyme disease. To prevent contracting Lyme disease, check yourself, your children, and your pets regularly for ticks. Remove ticks promptly once found.

Deer Ticks Can Survive Frigid Temperatures

While deer ticks usually prefer warmer climates, they can survive in colder weather. Some species can even thrive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Your pet might not be safe just because it went outdoors during winter. A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that deer ticks could survive up to six weeks in temperatures ranging from 5 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Make sure to check your dog regularly for ticks. After each outing, check your dog’s fur and skin for ticks. Pay particular attention to the head, neck, armpits, groin, and legs since these are common areas of infestation. Use a pair of tweezers to remove any ticks you find.

Several available products contain natural ingredients, such as essential oils that help keep deer ticks away from your dog. Be sure to follow all directions on the product label carefully during application.

5. Lyme Disease Can Be Fatal

Lyme disease can, unfortunately, be life-threatening in some dogs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States every year. In 2016, there were over 21,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in Texas alone.

Canine Lyme Disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted to pets through a bite from an infected tick. Some dogs may not show any symptoms at all. Instead, they may act sickly or lethargic. Although some treatments aren’t 100% effective, early diagnosis is essential. Some severe cases that are not caught early can lead to kidney failure, heart problems, and even death. 

It’s essential to monitor your pet regularly for signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease, such as fever, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. In addition, a simple blood test can often detect if your dog has been exposed to this bacterium, so it’s essential to get your pet regularly tested by a veterinarian if they live in common areas where ticks are common.

How Can You Protect Your Dog from Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in dogs and humans. You can protect yourself and your dog from getting infected in several ways. Here are three things you can do now to prevent Lyme disease exposure:

  • Keep your yard clean

Check your yard regularly for ticks. Ticks can hide under leaves and bark. Use tweezers to remove any ticks found on your dog. Ticks thrive in wooded areas where there are tall grasses and shrubs.

a woman and a dog

Clean up any standing water near your house. Ticks often lay eggs in these pools of water. Remove leaf litter and debris from your yard. Ticks thrive in damp environments.

If you live near woods or brushy areas, ensure your lawn is mowed regularly and your bushes trimmed. You could also use a product like TickGard® to kill off unwanted pests.

  • Check your dog’s coat

Keep your dog indoors during peak hours of tick activity. However, if your dog spends time outdoors, check their coat weekly to look for signs of parasites such as fleas, lice, or ticks.

Brush your dog daily. Brushing removes loose hair and dead skin cells that can harbor ticks. Ticks tend to hide under long hair, so combing your pet thoroughly is essential. Your vet can also perform a quick exam to determine whether your dog needs treatment.

  • Use repellents

Apply flea control products to your dog. Fleas can transmit diseases to your dog. You can help keep ticks away by using DEET (diethyltoluamide) products or picaridin. Both are safe for humans and animals.

You can use a product called Frontline Plus® plus Advantage Multi®, which contains monthly flea/tick prevention and a yearly heartworm preventive. This combination protects your pet from parasites throughout the year.

You can also apply a topical spray that includes permethrin, another effective tick repellant. But, again, follow label directions carefully, especially if you’re using the product directly on your pet’s skin.

If you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent, talk with your veterinarian about whether they recommend a particular treatment plan. Several types of antibiotics can help treat Lyme disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dog ticks (Ixodes scapularis) can transmit Lyme disease to humans. They are found throughout North America and Europe. Dog ticks are most commonly found in wooded areas, grasslands, brushy fields, and along trails.

The tick’s mouthparts pierce the skin when feeding. It then sucks blood from its host. After feeding, the tick drops off and dies.

Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria cause Lyme disease. This bacterium is transmitted through the bite of infected Ixodes spp. Ticks. In some cases, the infection may cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and rash. If left untreated, the illness can lead to heart problems, arthritis, neurological disorders, and even death.

The first case of human Lyme disease was reported in 1975. Since then, there have been many reports of people contracting this disease. The disease often occurs in pets who spend time outdoors playing in woods and fields where these ticks live. However, adults can contract the disease if bitten by a tick while hiking or camping.

  1. The first stage of Lyme disease in dogs is early localized infection (ELI). This is when the dog shows no symptoms at all. If this happens, then the dog should be treated immediately.
  2. In the second stage, early disseminated infection (EDI), the dog begins to show signs of illness. In this stage, the dog’s immune system becomes compromised, and the bacteria multiply rapidly.
  3. The third stage is late disseminated infection (LDI) which occurs when the bacteria spread throughout the body. At this point, the dog’s immune system is completely overwhelmed, and the dog dies from complications caused by the disease.

A tick must attach itself to the skin of a host animal (dog) before it can begin to feed on blood. The attachment process occurs when the tick’s mouthparts penetrate the skin’s outer layer. Once attached, the tick starts feeding on blood from its host. This process usually lasts several days. After this period, the tick drops off the host and dies. If the tick survives, it then molts into a nymph stage, where it continues feeding until it becomes sexually mature. At this point, the female ticks drop off their hosts and seek out new ones. A male tick remains on his host until he molts into a nymphal stage. Then, he seeks out another host.

Home remedies for ticks on dogs are widespread among dog owners—unfortunately, many ticks cause problems. The most common one is the brown dog tick. It causes serious health issues for dogs. Here are some tips if you want to know how to get rid of ticks on your dog.

  1. Use a flea comb to remove the ticks from your dog’s body. You should use this method because it is easy to do and safe for your dog.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet. This way, you can prevent yourself from getting any diseases.
  3. Use tweezers. It would be best if you grasped the head of the tick firmly so you won’t accidentally pull off its mouthparts. Then, gently twist the tick until it comes out.
  4. Keep your house clean. Cleaning the house regularly prevents pests like ticks from entering your home.
  5. Bathe your dog regularly. Bathing helps eliminate bacteria and parasites that live on your dog’s coat. Also, bathing removes dead hair and dirt from their fur. Ensure you frequently clean your dog’s ears, nose, and paws.

Dogs can fully recover from Lyme Disease if treated appropriately and given enough time. The treatment must include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and In addition, it nutritional supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids. It is essential to keep your dog’s immune system strong to fight off any infections. If you notice any symptoms at all, contact your vet immediately.

The speed at which Lyme disease progresses in dogs depends on many factors, such as the type of dog, the breed, the age, the immune system, the environment, the bacteria strain, etc. The most common symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle aches, skin rashes, and neurological problems. However, these symptoms vary from one dog to another, and they do not always appear. Sometimes, there are no signs of infection until the disease reaches its final stages.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can occur when dogs contract the bacteria from ticks or other infected animals. Lyme disease most commonly affects the central nervous system but can cause arthritis, eye inflammation, heart problems, and even death. Treatment involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria and often includes time off work for recovery.

Most dogs survive Lyme disease, but it can be severe. For example, suppose your pet shows any of the following signs or symptoms. In that case, you should call your veterinarian: fever, difficulty breathing, intense pain in one side of the chest or abdomen, arthritis symptoms (limping and swelling), and seizures.

In dogs, Lyme disease is a potentially fatal illness. It may cause cardiac and neurological abnormalities as well as death. The tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is responsible for Lyme disease. Dogs are the most prevalent carriers of the disease, however. However, it may also be passed on to people via touch with diseased animals or ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, neck stiffness, and fatigue. However, many dogs don’t show any signs until weeks or months after they’ve been infected. If your dog exhibits symptoms, they may appear suddenly (within days or weeks) and worsen over several weeks or months.

Some dogs with Lyme disease have a prolonged lifespan. However, most dogs will die within six to twelve months after being diagnosed with Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be treated and, in some cases, cured. However, depending on the severity of the infection, a dog may experience prolonged symptoms or even die from Lyme disease.

Yes, a dog can live an everyday life with Lyme disease. Dogs with Lyme disease may experience swollen lymph nodes, fever, and fatigue, but most commonly, they have no symptoms. Some dogs require antibiotics to clear the infection and improve their health; however, most recover without therapy.

Lyme disease is not particularly painful for dogs, but many dogs may experience mild inflammation and pain. It depends on the severity of the symptoms. A veterinarian may recommend some pain relievers in some cases.

Lyme disease may lead to shorter life spans in some dogs. In addition, Lyme disease symptoms can be debilitating and prevent a dog from participating in everyday activities. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can also destroy the lining of a dog’s lungs, which could ultimately cause death.

Untreated Lyme disease in dogs can lead to serious health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, arthritis, and leukemia. If your dog shows signs of infection or illness, please consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is difficult to say how long Lyme disease takes to show up in dogs, as the incubation period can vary significantly from animal to animal. In general, however, it typically takes between two and four weeks for symptoms to develop after initial exposure.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in dogs in North America.  It is estimated that over 30,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. Infected dogs may experience signs of infection such as fever, lameness, and a rash on the skin. However, many infected dogs do not develop outward symptoms and remain healthy for years. In severe cases, Lyme can cause joint pain or paralysis, heart problems, and seizures.

There is no scientific evidence that Lyme disease in dogs makes them aggressive. However, some believe this may be a potential side effect of the infection because it can cause neurologic symptoms, including aggression and mania.

There is no one Golden Rule for preventing your dog from getting Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses, as the best way to avoid any illness is to keep your dog healthy in general. However, some tips that may help include:

  1. Keep your yard well groomed and free of tall grasses and weeds – ticks love these types of environments, so keeping them trimmed down will help keep your dog away from areas where they can potentially contract a tick-borne illness. Additionally, ensure there are no pets or large creatures in the area that could bring ticks onto the property – this includes rabbits, deer, and other small mammals!
  2. Prevent your dog from accessing areas where ticks are known to congregate, such as wooded or rural areas. If you must take them outside for a potty break or recreation, keep a close eye on them and pick up any potential ticks they may come in contact with.
  3. Keep your dog vaccinated against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, which can be deadly if not treated quickly. Rabies vaccination is also beneficial against these infections, so consider adding it to your vaccine regimen!

Lyme disease is a contagious infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Dogs are tested for Lyme infection by detecting the bacteria in their blood or urine. Treatment of Lyme disease usually begins with antibiotics to kill the bacteria. However, if the infection is left untreated, it can cause serious health problems in dogs, such as arthritis, heart problems, and lameness.

There is no specific vaccine that can prevent Lyme disease in dogs, but several prophylactic medications are available. Some of these include vaccines against other tick-borne diseases, such as leptospirosis or canine distemper, antibiotics to treat any accompanying bacterial infections, and glucocorticoids to help heal any tissue damage.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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