If you're a dog parent, chances are you've at least heard the term "Lyme disease." Transmitted to canines by the bite of a tick, Lyme disease is a bacterial-based illness that travels through the dog's bloodstream and usually centralizes in the joints. Although the deer tick is the most common carrier of the disease, other varieties of ticks can transmit it, too.
People are susceptible to Lyme disease, and, like dogs, they also contract it directly from tick bites. When a person is infected, one of the characteristic symptoms is a "bull's-eye" rash at the bite site, but since dogs do not develop this rash, infection may be hard to notice. However, many infected dogs do display generalized pain and sometimes stop eating. Some dog parents describe their pups as "walking on eggshells," limping from pain which may shift from one leg to another. Many dogs with Lyme disease will run a fever.
Like many conditions, Lyme disease is confirmed through blood tests. Once diagnosed, treatment is typically in the form of antibiotics and may be lengthy to completely kill the bacteria. You can help your dog avoid Lyme disease by keeping her on a continual flea and tick preventive—we'll be happy to recommend our favorite brand, which can be safely and easily administered by you at home. We can also discuss an annual vaccination for the disease after we assess your pup's particular lifestyle and risk.