Lyme disease is one of the dreadful diseases of dog. Many parts of the dog’s body get affected by this disease which includes kidney, heart and joints. The Lyme disease can cause neurological disturbances too, but it is very rare. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria gain entry in to the body of the dog through tick bite. For this transfer to happen, the tick must remain attached to the body of the dog at least for a day.
Ixodes ticks which are also called as deer ticks are responsible for the occurrence of Lyme disease in dog. The same ticks can transmit the bacteria to human beings too through tick bite. But the disease can’t spread from dog to human, by any means. The ixodes ticks are seen abundantly in north- eastern states of United States of America, such as California, Mississippi etc.
Signs and Symptoms
The dog will have high fever. There will be lames and anorexia. Myocarditis, lymphadenopathy, joint diseases [inflammatory type], glomerulonephritis and neurological disturbances [rare] are possible.
The diagnosis of the Lyme disease requires veterinary help. The blood test of the dog can reveal the borrelia burgdorferi infection. In case the dog was already vaccinated, then there is special blood test which can differentiate the vaccine organism from the actual pathogenic organism needs to be performed. In general the veterinarian will evaluate the test result and the dog’s symptoms in order to confirm the Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are the transmitting agents of the bacteria, borrelia burgdorferi. The ticks pick up the infection from white -footed mouse. White -footed mouse are the carriers of this organism. The deer ticks are very small hence are very difficult to notice. As the result they remain attached to the dog’s skin for long time, thus transmitting the bacteria.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Since Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria, antibiotics are very effective in treating the dogs. The drug of choice is doxycycline. The duration of the treatment should last for three to four weeks.
The dogs will show the signs of improvement in a matter of few days, once the treatment is started. There is a definite possibility that the disease may reappear within few months. If that happens then the dog must undergo prolonged antibiotic therapy.
Prevention of the Lyme disease
The prevention of Lyme disease is simple. There is a vaccine in existence to prevent the Lyme disease. The immediate removal of the tick from the body of the dog also prevents the Lyme disease. As discussed earlier the tick needs to remain attached with the body of the dog for minimum of 24 hours so as to transmit the causative organism to the dogs body. There are different ways to reduce the tick population. One needs to consult the veterinarian to get an idea about that.