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Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease?

(June 8, 2010)

Dog Lyme disease is something that can cause many problems in several parts of a dog’s body. If left untreated for long, the disease can affect the joints, the heart, and kidneys of the dog. Though rare, it is possible that the dog may also develop neurological disorders because of this disease.

Dog lyme disease is usually passed on to dogs from ticks. These ticks, which are the carriers of the bacteria known as Borrelia Burgdorferi, can pass on the bacteria into the blood stream upon biting. Usually when the tick bites, it sticks to the animal’s body for almost the entire day and that is the time required for the bacteria to move into the dog’s bloodstream.

There is typically one kind of tick which is a potential carrier of these bacteria. The lxodes, also known as deer ticks, are usually found in coastal areas where there is thick vegetation. Though infected dogs cannot pass the infection to humans, it is possible that infectious bacteria may be present in the vicinity of an animal that is infected and therefore, proper precautions need to be taken.

Some of the common symptoms of lyme disease are swollen lymph nodes in dogs, loss of appetite, high fever, and lameness. There may be other symptoms such as myocarditis, neurological disease, glomerulonephritis, and inflammation of the joints.

In order to diagnose canines with this disease the veterinarian has to perform a blood test. The blood test can show the presence of the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria in the blood stream. For dog’s that have received vaccination, the blood test is of a different type. The different blood test is done in order to differentiate between the actual exposure to the bacteria or simply the presence of the vaccine in the body.

Lyme disease is a multi systemic illness and can exhibit many different early signs. A vaccine to prevent Lyme disease has been discovered. It is important to vaccinate all canines in areas where Lyme disease is endemic. However, an owner should first consult with a doctor before getting the canine vaccinated since there is some controversy regarding the use of the vaccine. The treatment of Lyme disease involves the use of antibiotics appropriate for the dog. The treatment usually lasts for about three to four weeks and the medication has to be taken regularly. The medication tends to be rendered useless if not taken properly. In most cases, dogs show signs of recovery within two to three days of receiving medication.

Submitted by N M on June 8, 2010 at 04:11


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