Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease in dogs, or Borreliosis, is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted by the bite of a tick. Dogs are particularly susceptible to this disease. Lyme disease can affect animals in different ways. It can also affect humans.

Lyme disease was only discovered in 1975 when children in the town of Lyme, Connecticut were suffering with symptoms that were normally linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research resulted in a new condition; the tick-borne illness that we now know as Lyme disease.

Causes of Lyme Disease in Dogs

The bacterial agent responsible for this disease in is the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. This disease is found in most countries around the world and transmitted by ticks, small blood-sucking invertebrates. Ticks have three stages in their life, larvae, nymph and adult.

In the nymph stage, Lyme disease transmission has the most potential. The nymph tick implants itself into your dog's skin for several days before causing symptoms of Lyme disease. The nymph ticks are so small that they are frequently missed by dog owners.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease in Dogs

It can be a debilitating condition for dogs, so if your pet displays signs of Lyme disease, it is very important to quickly get your dog to the vets. Your vet will inspect your dog for ticks and blood tests can be performed to ascertain if the bacteria is present.

Help for Lyme Disease

Dogs and humans are usually prescribed amoxicillin or doxycycline for the treatment of Lyme disease. In more advanced cases, Tetracycline or penicillin is also used.

Natural Remedies for Lyme Disease in Dogs

There are natural herbal and homeopathic remedies available to compliment conventional treatments for Lyme disease. These natural remedies can be used as an addition to the antibiotics, but check with your vet.

The liver is often affected by Lyme disease. Crotalus hor, China and Aconite can be beneficial when there is a breakdown of red blood cells, fever and exhaustion and fluid loss.

Preventing Tick bites and Reducing the Risk of Lyme Disease in Dogs

If you are out walking your pet: try to avoid long grass.

Check your dog for ticks after a walk and comb through your pet's hair thoroughly

If you see a tick attached to your pet, remove it immediately. This should be done by grasping the tick as close to the head as possible with tweezers and pulling it straight out in one slow, smooth motion.

Speak to your vet about tick-killing pesticides or tick collars. Make sure your dog is not allergic to any chemicals that can be found in these collars.

Disinfect your dog's food and water bowls and the sleeping surroundings regularly.

Ensure your dog's vaccinations aare up to date.

Take care when removing any unattached ticks from your dog. Remember they will bite humans if they get the chance.