Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

By james
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The same ticks that cause Lyme disease in people will also bite other animals, including dogs, if they get the opportunity. This means that the same bacteria can be transmitted, resulting in an equivalent disease. Lyme disease can be a problem for dogs, and the disease shares a lot of similar symptoms with the human equivalent.

The ticks that cause the transmission are generally found in wooded areas and in long grass. It can difficult to keep dogs out of these areas as they want to play and explore, so they can be at quite a high risk of being bitten. As such, it can be a good idea to know what signs to look out for.

1. Delayed Symptoms

In some cases, a dog might not show any symptoms of Lyme disease for a year after the infection, or even longer. This is not good news because symptoms alert us to the fact that something is wrong. Without knowing anything is wrong, the disease can be spreading to the rest of the body.

When the symptoms do arise, they can sometimes last for just a few days before disappearing again. Over the next few weeks or so, the symptoms can continue the cycle of disappearing and reappearing. In cases where the patient is not treated properly, the symptoms can continue to recur some months after the infection.

Lyme Disease

2. Fever

Dogs are mammals, just as we are and, despite our obvious differences, we also have many similarities. One of these similarities is an immune system that uses some similar defense mechanisms, such as the ability to increase our body temperature when it is necessary to do so.

Many pathogens struggle to survive in environments that are too warm, so raising the temperature can kill them, or at least slow them down. If your dog does feel hot to the touch then consider a rectal thermometer to check their temperature. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, take them to a nearby vet.

3. Swollen Lymph Nodes

Dogs have lymph nodes just as we do and, when an infection is detected, the lymph nodes will be hard at work trying to deal with the problem. Just as in people, this can cause the lymph nodes to become swollen, and they can be quite noticeable in some cases.

A dog’s lymph nodes are found on their parts of the body that correspond to our own. That is the top of the neck, around the shoulders, and in their ‘arm’ pits. You might sometimes feel a swelling in these areas when petting your dog, but it might sometimes take a professional to notice the condition.

Lyme Disease

4. Sensitivity to Touch

Anybody that has spent any amount of time with a loving, family pooch will know that they just love lots of physical attention. They just love to have their ears scratched and their belly rubbed and given lots of hugs and kisses. If your pooch has Lyme disease, however, then they might not be so eager for that attention.

Lyme disease can cause dogs to become rather sensitive when touched, meaning that they are likely to shy away from attention rather than seeking it out. If your dog’s behavior does change in that way, then it is a good idea to take them to a veterinarian as soon as you can.

5. Lame Limbs

Dogs might have two more legs than we do, but they still need all four of them to be able to run properly. If one of their legs was to fall lame for any reason then running, and even walking, would become a lot harder for them and it will be very noticeable.

Lyme disease can cause any one of your dog’s legs to fall lame at any moment and for no apparent reason. What’s more is that the lameness may move from one leg to another. It is not a good sign and is something that should encourage you to see a professional, regardless of the suspected cause.

Lyme Disease

6. Joint Pain

Dogs are usually quite active animals, depending on their breed, so it is usually quite noticeable if they are in pain somehow. Lyme disease can cause pain in their joints, just as it can with people, and this can make it quite difficult for them to get around. It can also be quite painful for them even when they are resting.

The pain is caused when the bacterium gets to the joints, causing them to become inflamed. This inflammation can then become quite painful and limit your dog’s ability to move freely. The pain will often last 2-4 days before subsiding and then recurring again.

7. Swollen joints

Depending on the breed of dog, the joints in their legs can be quite prominent, and this can make it easier for us to tell when something is wrong. In instances of Lyme disease, inflammation of the joints can cause the joints to become swollen, and this swelling can lead to other problems such as pain and limited movement.

In addition to the swelling, the joints are also likely to be warm to the touch. They will also likely be quite tender, so bear that in mind when you are checking them. You may also notice some stiffness in your dog when they are walking, and you might notice them walking with their back arched.

Lyme Disease

8. Appetite Loss

Anybody that has had a dog around the house will know that they always have an appetite for eating. They will gladly scoff down any snacks and leftovers that might be given to them, and this is on top of their own food. If you do notice that they appear to have lost their appetite, it is something that should raise some concern.

In addition to noticing that your pooch is off their food, you might also notice that they appear to be down in the dumps. They may not be as active as usual and not as interested in taking part in what the family and other pets are doing.

9. Breathing Difficulties

Dogs just love to exercise, and they can spend ages just running around and around in a field. This can get them out of breath and this is a good thing because it helps to keep them in good shape. It is perfectly healthy for them to be out of breath after exercising. However, you should take notice if they seem short of breath when at rest.

If your dog does appear to be struggling to breathe then you should consider getting professional help for them, or at least monitor them closely. There are numerous potential reasons behind it, including Lyme disease.

10. Heart Problems

As is the case with people, Lyme disease can also cause heart disease for dogs in a rare number of cases. These can be difficult to spot for a lot of people, after all, dogs cannot talk, but you should consider getting them help if something appears to be wrong.

Also, some cases of Lyme disease can result in problems with the nervous system. Again, it can be difficult to tell that a dog has a problem sometimes, so it’s a good idea to get them checked if something seems amiss. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible can help ensure the dog’s full recovery, while also possibly saving you a lot in vet bills.

Lyme Disease

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