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Lyme Disease in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Now with all the recent news press and attention lyme disease is getting today, most folks are quite aware of what Lyme disease is in humans, but did you know that it can also affect your dog too?

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what Lyme disease is, how it will affect your pet and what you can do to try and help you dog if in fact he or she ever does become infected with this disease.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Lyme Disease

First of all, this disease is not limited to dogs, cats or humans. This is why you should always be aware of ticks when out in the woods or hills whether they are on you, your dog or your cat!


Even horses and cattle might also suffer from this infection as well.  This is because, Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrellia burgdorferi, which is carried in the saliva of the Ixodes species of tick.

Now the good news is…

That this tick must be attached for twelve hours before it can start to pump all that nasty bacteria into the blood, so as long as you get them quickly there is a fair chance you won’t become infected.

The problem is that…

This particular, bacteria can cross through various animal species and, as such, is accountable for the majority of tick related diseases worldwide. Animals can be carriers for the disease without ever having become sick, which makes isolating the disease all that much more difficult and nearly impossible to eliminate entirely.

Progression of the disease

When a human is bitten it is likely that clinical signs will be aches and pains, vomiting and a rash. When a dog is bitten it is not so obvious. The symptoms of Lyme disease in dog includes:

  • Aching joints and lethargy,

Which are subtle symptoms and which may not come on until weeks or even months after the infection begins.  Plus, because in many areas of the country where Lyme disease only occurs during the summer months, having your dog lie around a lot may not seem all that odd!

There are tests however…

That will definitively tell you whether or not your dog has Lyme disease, it won’t tell you if they actually have it now, if they have recovered from it already or if they have simply been exposed the bacterium that causes it.

Or in other words…

The test for Lyme disease will not differentiate between suffering from or having been exposed to so starting treatment is the only option once the bacteria has been detected. The vet will be testing for Burgdorferi, the active ingredient in the blood that the deer tick and black-legged tick will leave behind.

When the Borrelia bacteria is detected…

In the lymph nodes is when your dog will start to present symptoms. Your Veterinarian will make the diagnosis of Canine Lyme Disease should the bacterium be present. They may then treat accordingly.

Veterinary medicine maintains…

That the best way to avoid this disease is through tick control and limiting the dog’s exposure to infected and disease causing bacteria to begin with.  So in this case, you can forget about fleas – ticks are the main reason you should always keep your pup’s coat protected with some medicated shampoo, an anti-flea collar or some other measures such as medications applied directly to the back of the neck. Ticks are horrifying.

We also advise…

Against trying to “burn off” any ticks you find, or using any “homemade” tools to do the trick because, you want to be sure to remove the tick with the head still attached otherwise you still run the risk for infection.  Special tools can be purchased to do this, however it’s best to first visit your vet and have them walk you through the process (at least in the beginning).

Affected Breeds

All dogs can be affected by Lyme Disease. Those who are particularly susceptible are those that live, work or are walked in wooded areas, through the countryside or on hills and mountains. This disease is limited to localities where deer ticks grow and is further limited by the weather and season. Beware of wooded areas in high summer and use a flea prevention method to be sure to avoid the dreaded Lyme Disease.

Treatment Options

First of all, there is a Lyme Disease Vaccine, so you should think about getting it should you live in woodlands. Infected dogs will become symptomatic and your vet will want to make an examination to gain a diagnosis.

If that diagnosis is…

Lyme Disease, they will typically start your pet on antibiotic treatment straight away. An infected dog is unable to produce enough antibodies to deal with the infection, and so your vet will want the antibiotics to support your pet’s immune system straight away. It is important that you ensure your pet finishes the entire course.

The good news is that…

The treatment for this disease is not as costly as others, but your dog risks eventual paralysis if the disease is not detected. If you see any ticks on your dog it is important to take them to the bet – particularly if they are big ones that have potentially been there for longer than 12 hours.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have Lyme disease (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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