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Dog Lyme Disease

 Submitted by Michael Adams on May 10, 2010

Dog Lyme disease, also called Borreliosis, is a condition in dogs caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and gets its name from the city of Lyme in Connecticut, since that is where the disease was identified for the first time in dogs in 1984. Before 1984, the condition was often misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis because both the ailments have similar symptoms. The bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi is transmitted by the bite of ticks, in particular, deer ticks or black-legged ticks. The tick stays on the dog’s body for about two days to transmit the bacteria.

Dog lyme disease symptoms are never seen immediately after the dog has been bitten. It takes about two to five months for the dog to show the symptoms. At times, the bacteria are dormant in the dog’s system for up to a year.

But that does not imply that it doesn’t harm the dog in this duration. It affects the dog’s health in more subtle ways.

Interpreting the symptoms of canine lyme disease can be a bit tricky sometimes as they are common to various other dog diseases. These common symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, high fever, and lethargy. However, there is also limping on either of the forelegs caused by swollen lymph nodes in dogs limb. This is a telling symptom of the condition. What starts with a mild joint and muscle pain goes on to become so severe that the dog cannot move at all. The limping may also shift from one leg to the other. The disease also leads to arthritis as there is swelling on the joints.

Dog Lyme must be taken very seriously as it can affect the nervous system and heart. The condition causes inflammation in the muscular tissue of the heart and also causes lack of urination, the presence of protein and blood in the urine, and water retention in cells and tissues causing edema. Once these symptoms are seen, the vet can do a physical examination, check for the medical and travel history of the dog and prescribe antibiotics as dog lyme disease treatment. It’s important to complete the antibiotics course as the symptoms subside after about four days but a relapse could be imminent if the course is not completed. There are many preventive measures that can ensure that the dog is not afflicted by the disease. One of these measures is a vaccination and then re-vaccination. It’s also important to groom the dog regularly to prevent infestations of fleas and parasites.

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