Every dog owner is familiar with the risks of going out in the forest or walking their dog in high grass and bushes because this is where ticks love to hang out.
Many of us try to stay on top of tick and flea protection because they are known to carry around vicious parasites and cause serious diseases in dogs.
In this article, we will explain what Lyme disease is, how it is transmitted, what it does to your dog, how it is treated, and how much would cost you.
What is Lyme disease in dogs?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that can affect humans, dogs, cats, and horses.
This parasite, Borrelia burgdorferi, uses ticks as hosts to travel from one animal to another and infect them.
Dogs are prone to catching this nasty parasite if they usually go on a walk in places that are known to be well-infested with ticks, which is common in some parts of the clone where you have warm weather.
What are the signs of Lyme disease in dogs?
In some cases, the dogs may not show signs of the disease, however, sometimes it may take a couple of days to weeks until the owner notices that something is wrong with their pet.
Usually, owners notice that their dog starts limping on one leg, but the next day it limps on its other leg, while the joints on the affected limbs may be swollen. Other symptoms include:
- loss of appetite
- reluctance to get up and play or move in general
- swelling of the joints
If the disease is not recognized and treated on time, it could lead to more serious consequences on the kidneys, heart, and liver and could potentially be fatal.
That is why we strongly recommend if you notice any of the symptoms contact your vet.
How do vets diagnose Lyme disease in dogs?
Whenever you see your dog acting strangely, it is always a good time to give your vet a call, even just for a consultation.
If you are not sure when was the last time you protected your dog from ticks and fleas and you have been for a walk in the forest, it is recommended that you keep a close eye on changes in your dog over the next days and weeks.
However, if you do go to the vet, then he will probably do a thorough examination and draw out blood for blood work and biochemistry.
Nowadays vets have snap tests, that with a drop of blood could tell your vet if your dog carries the parasite or not. And it only takes around 10 minutes.
Your vet will also take some urine samples and do x-rays especially if your dog shows up with swollen joints.
In some cases, the dog may be lightly sedated and a sample can be taken from the joint for further examination.
How is Lyme disease treated and what is the prognosis?
Usually, the treatment for this disease is very straightforward and easy. The only problem that may be is that your dog may not be happy that you are tricking him to get tablets for the next month or so.
Usually, dogs with this parasite are prescribed antibiotics as well as some supportive medicine to help speed up the recovery and protect the kidneys and liver.
Owners see differences in their dog’s behavior in just a few days after the treatment is started.
The best way for an owner to protect their dog is to be on top of their dog’s tick and flea prevention.
No matter what you choose, either a spot-on, a collar, or a chewable tablet, it is important that you make notes of the last time you used it.
Another good tip is that you should always do a thorough check of your dog when you get back from a walk in the woods. If you can manage to find and remove the tick in time, your dog will be safe from the disease.
However, if you do end up at the vet, and your dog was the lucky winner of one Lyme disease, then you are probably going to pay between $80 and $800.
The price may change from practice to practice and there may be additional expenses if your dog needs to be hospitalized for observation.