If your dog has a tendency to pick up ticks, you should watch for dog Lyme disease symptoms in your pet. Lyme disease is a serious illness that can even be fatal in some cases. It is a bacterial disease spread by ticks, especially deer ticks in the USA and sheep ticks in Europe. It was named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.
Dog Lyme disease symptoms are a lot like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Joints can become inflamed, and feet and legs become sore. This means that the dog will start to limp and may have swelling around the joints or lymph nodes.
A fever usually develops, with the dog running a temperature a couple of degrees higher than normal. Normal body temperature for a dog is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (around 38 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). 103 or above indicates a fever.
A dog with Lyme disease will probably not eat at all and may throw up. His or her breath may smell bad, like ammonia, and the stomach may be bloated and tender to the touch.
In the later stages, dog Lyme disease symptoms include confusion and seizures. If untreated, the disease can eventually cause kidney failure, neurological disabilities and myocarditis, which is similar to a heart attack.
In most cases, the tick has to be on the dog’s body for at least 24 hours before it will transmit Lyme disease. So if you always remove ticks from your pet quickly, then he or she is not so likely to develop this illness. However, it can be hard to know how long a tick has been on your pet, so keep your eyes open for symptoms of canine Lyme disease any time that your dog has had a tick.
Note that Lyme disease may not develop until several months later. It can take 2-5 months for this illness to become apparent in your dog.
It is possible for humans to get Lyme disease too, but it is always caught directly from ticks. So you do not have to worry about catching it from your dog. You will only get it if you have had an infected tick settle on you.
There is a vaccination for Lyme disease which can be given to dogs. However, there is some controversy around its use. Some vets feel that the vaccination is not effective enough to be worthwhile, as it is still possible for a vaccinated dog to contract the illness. But if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common and your dog picks up a lot of ticks, vaccination might be something to consider. You can discuss this with your veterinarian.
If your pet appears to be suffering from dog Lyme disease symptoms, take him or her to the veterinarian right away for treatment with antibiotics.