Lyme Disease Causes:
Lyme Disease is caused by a spirochete called Borrelia. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. It is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. The feeding tick is basically a blood sucker. It must keep its hostís blood from clotting in order to continue sucking so it is able to regurgitate assorted enzymes to keep the blood flow liquid and smooth. It is during this regurgitation process that the Lyme spirochete is brought up from the tickís midgut to its mouthparts. This process requires a minimum of 48 hours which means that if the tick is removed within 48 hours of attachment, the spirochete cannot be transmitted and the host will not get the disease. Once in the blood stream, it is carried to many parts of the dog's body. It is especially likely to localize in joints.
Lyme Disease Symptoms:
In dogs, Lyme disease produces symptoms characterized by arthritis, though it can sometimes involve heart, nervous system and the kidneys. The arthritic joints may become swollen and hot, and there may be a fever (102 to 105 degrees) and poor appetite. Dogs may also become lame because of the disease. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later. The glands (lymph nodes) of the dog may also be swollen.
Many dogs suffering from Lyme Disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Often these dogs have high fevers.
Some dogs are affected with the Lyme Disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be quite widespread in the dog's body.
Lyme Diease Diagnosis:
Diagnosis of Lyme disease in dogs is based on risk of exposure, clinical symptoms and blood testing. Only a veterinarian can make the diagnosis.
Lyme Disease Treatment:
The Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, so it can be controlled by antibiotics. However, a lengthy course of treatment may be necessary to completely eradicate the organism. With early detection, dogs may experience relief of symptoms within 24 hours of treatment. Chronic cases require longer periods of treatment.
Note: I highly recommend to test your dog 2x a year for lyme. The test I have my vet perform is called the C6 test....which is a blood test to check their level of lyme. Please speak with your vet about this test to make sure your dog does not have lyme and what treatment he will need if numbers are high. Most of the tick preventatives today only protect against 4-5 tick born diseases. There are over 750 tick born diseases your dog can get. I prefer to use holistic remedies to prevent tick bites and build up my dogs immune system with proper diet and exercise.
Lyme Disease Prevention: