How to know if my dog has Lyme disease
Lyme disease, also known as canine borreliosis, is a pathology transmitted by those Ixodes- type ticks infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, being one of the most common conditions transmitted by this parasite around the world. If it is treated in time this condition does not represent a serious danger to the pet, however if it is not received timely attention the infection can affect the joints, kidneys, heart or nervous system, greatly complicating the health of your pet. animal.
In this article of .com we explain how to know you your dog has Lyme disease, the symptoms, treatment and prognosis of this condition.
What is Lyme disease and how is it spread?
Lyme disease is a condition that affects both dogs and humans, is transmitted by the bite of the black-legged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The parasite collects this bacteria when it bites animals such as deer or mice that carry it, so it is a condition that usually occurs in those dogs that walk in the countryside or in natural environments.
It can affect dogs of any age and condition, and the most important thing is to detect their symptoms in time to quickly attend to the pet. In an initial stage this condition can be cured with antibiotics, however if it evolves and affects areas such as joints, kidneys or heart, the picture will be complicated with an unfavorable prognosis.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
In early stage, Lyme disease has no symptoms and the main signs that can indicate that something is wrong with the dog may take weeks to appear. If you detect that your dog has had ticks, it is best to check the area where it was stung, before the appearance of a red spot in the area of the bite that has increased in size, it is time to take the animal to the veterinarian does not yet have symptoms, because this signal could indicate the presence of canine borreliosis .
After the first weeks of incubation, the symptoms of Lyme disease that your dog may manifest are:
- Lameness in one or several legs product of the inflammation of the joints, this being the most common symptom of the disease. It can last a few days and disappear and then return or recurrently present without disappearing. If your dog has not suffered a blow or fall, this is reason for an immediate visit to the veterinarian to rule out this condition.
- Inflammation in the joints, when touched they feel hot and the dog feels sore and uncomfortable.
- The dog is apathetic and depressed.
- Fever product of the infection.
- The animal walks with its back arched.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the area near the bite.
- Trouble breathing.
If the condition is not treated early, it can lead to kidney problems that lead to kidney failure. In this case the dog will also present vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and the amount of urine, lack of appetite and fluid retention in the abdomen or legs.
How is this condition diagnosed?
If you suspect that your dog has Lyme disease, it is essential to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible . You should inform the professional about important details such as the area in which the pet was stung, how early the first symptoms began to appear, as well as any signal that allows the professional to determine the extent to which the infection has progressed.
Blood tests, urine tests, as well as fluid extraction from the joints or radiographs will determine the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and diagnose this condition.
Treatment of Lyme disease
Being a bacterial infection, the treatment for Lyme disease in dogs begins with the administration of antibiotics, in addition the veterinarian may also recommend the intake of pain medications that alleviate the discomfort of the pet. The amount of antibiotics and the duration of treatment will depend on the condition of the dog, however usually the medication is usually administered for a month to ensure the total elimination of the bacteria.
If the infection has advanced enough, it is possible that the animal continues to present joint pains and discomfort even after the bacteria has disappeared, being a sequel to the disease. Only in more serious cases in which there are renal or cardiac complications the animal will need hospitalization.
How to prevent Lyme disease?
The best way to prevent Lyme disease in dogs is to prevent our animal from contracting ticks, for this it is essential to deworm it with the frequency indicated by the veterinarian, always keeping your health as a priority. Sprays, collars or pipettes are a good alternative to protect our pet against these parasites.
It is also important that if we decide to take our dog to the field or to green areas where there might be ticks, we always check his fur when he gets home. If we find a tick we must remove it immediately, because this will reduce the possibility of it being infected with diseases. In our video how to remove a tick we explain how to do it correctly.