How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

One of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world is Lyme disease. Here, our South Charlotte vets explain a little about Lyme disease in pets; what it is, what symptoms to watch for, and how your pet can be treated if diagnosed. 


What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called borrelia. Borrelia is most commonly carried by deer ticks. It is by feeding on infected animals such as mice, birds and deers, that the tick becomes infected. Infection is then passed on to other animals when they are bitten by an infected tick.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

In pets, common symptoms of Lyme disease include general malaise or discomfort, and lameness due to inflamed joints. Lack of appetite and depression are also common symptoms of the disease.

Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease are sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing and fever.

How can Lyme disease be diagnosed?

Make an appointment to see your vet if you think your pet may have Lyme disease.

At the appointment your vet will request a thorough history of your pet's health, then run a combination of tests including blood tests, urine analysis, fecal exam and x-rays. Fluid may be drawn from your pet's affected joints to be analyzed for signs of Lyme disease.

What happens if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?

Your pet will likely be treated on an outpatient basis if diagnosed with Lyme disease. Usually this entails a course of antibiotics for at least four weeks, but your vet may also prescribe pain medication if your dog is especially uncomfortable.

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