How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is one of the most commonly tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Here, our veterinarians share information with our Riverbank clients about Lyme disease in your pets, including its causes, symptoms and treatments. 

What is Lyme disease?

The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them. 

What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?

In our furry four-legged friends, Lyme disease may include anything from a general discomfort or malaise to a lack of appetite, depression, or even lameness caused by inflammation in their joints. 

Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.

How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?

Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease. 

During this appointment, your vet will ask you a number of different questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your pet's medical history. They will then conduct a number of tests, include blood tests, uranalysis, fecal exams, x-rays and drawing fluid from your pet's affected joints.

What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?

When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are usually treated on an outpatient basis. This will typically involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your dog especially uncomfortable. 

How can I prevent Lyme disease?

Avoiding ticks as much as you are able to go far towards controlling and preventing this disease. Monthly products, sprays, vaccines and more are available to help prevent this disease. Although most of these products work best before you pet is exposed to the bacteria which causes the disease. 

Your vet may recommend appropriate boosters and vaccines if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common. You should promptly remove any ticks you find on your dog to help prevent Lyme and other diseases spreading. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.

Do you suspect your pet has Lyme disease? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at River Oak Veterinary Hospital today.