Ticks are not only annoying, but they can cause troublesome illnesses as well. One such example is Lyme Disease, which can be passed onto our pets through something as simple as a tick bite. Often, the ticks responsible for passing on this illness are the black-legged or deer tick variety, which are the most common. However, all species of ticks can also carry this disease.
No one likes to see their pets suffer, so it's important to know what the signs of this illness are, how to recognize and prevent tick bites on dogs, and Lyme disease, and the options you have when you think your pet may be suffering from it. Then, you'll be fully armed to fight back against ticks in the most efficient way!
What Is Lyme Disease In Dogs?
Tick bites on dogs can sometimes pass on a bacteria by the name of Borrelia burgdoferi. This is a bacteria that can effect humans and dogs alike, resulting in Lyme disease. This is a tick borne disease in dogs as well as humans which can have some pretty serious effects. Often, this illness can be recognized by dwindling energy, lameness and a failing appetite after you find a tick bite on your dog.
Luckily, the illness can be treated well with plenty of antibiotics when it has been caught early on. Things can get a little trickier once the bacteria evolves into a more advanced form of bacteria, which can cause a much more serious case of Lyme Disease, but this only occurs in a small percentage of those whom the bacteria is passed to.
It's also worth keeping in mind that there are other tick diseases in dogs that can result from a romp in the woods. Because of that, it's important to look for ticks on your dog, and understand the kinds of tic-related symptoms that can come from them.
What Does Lyme Disease Do?
Lyme disease, or sometimes called Lyme borreliosis, is an illness that can affect the body in a number of ways. There are a wide variety of different symptoms that can show up with the disease because of this. Furthermore, they make it even more important to watch out for any signs your dog might be dealing with Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease-causing bacteria.
Understanding how long it takes to show signs of Lyme disease can be helpful if you notice a tick bite on your dog. With that knowledge, you can stay alert for tick bites on your dog and keep an eye on their behavior until they are out of danger.
Where Does Lyme Disease Come From?
Black-legged ticks are notorious for not only carrying Lyme disease, but also transferring it too and from the different animals they may come into contact with. Because of this, it's important to know where ticks can be most prevalent, and how to best avoid them.
Three features that these ticks love are darkness, heat and humidity. Hot climates can draw them in and allow them to be more active. That said, they can show up in just about any weather or place, so it's wise to be very careful! You're likely to need to take preventative measures to keep them off your pet.
How Contagious Is Lyme Disease?
It's important to understand how Lyme disease spreads. It can certainly spread, but not typically in a direct manner. For example, if your dog contracts the illness, it's very unlikely that contact with your pet will result in you picking up the illness.
However, if a tick carrying the bacteria for Lyme disease bites you, then you do run the risk of coming down with the disease. That can mean that the tick had bitten your dog first, or that you were bitten by another tick carrying the bacteria from an unrelated source.
Consequently, Lyme disease isn't contagious in a sense that an infected dog can spread the illness to other dogs through blood, saliva or physical contact. However, if the tick that passed the illness to your dog survives, it can seek out and spread the disease to others.
How Does Lyme Disease Work?
Dog Lyme disease is very similar to that which humans can experience. However, there isn't really one way in which Lyme disease always works, so it's key to watch out for symptoms and look for tick bites or rashes on the body.
Dog Lyme Disease Vs. Human Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a problem for humans and dogs alike. Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans can be a little easier to spot thanks to the bullseye-shaped rash that can form around the site. As a result, it's more likely that humans will be treated early on, avoiding any dangerous effects.
In humans, a Lyme disease tick bite is easier to find, allowing many to be treated before the bacteria can be transmitted to the host within a 12-to-20-hour time frame. Since the bite isn't as easy to find in dogs, dogs can get Lyme disease by the time you notice any tick bite symptoms becauseoftentimes, the tick isn't removed before the disease is transmitted or is left unnoticed until symptoms get serious.
This is a little trickier for dogs, as they are covered in fur. It's possible that in some cases, the dog's tick bite may not even be noticed before the symptoms begin. In both, untreated Lyme disease can result in problems with the kidneys, including kidney failure. Any treatment should be done as early as possible!
Lyme Disease Symptoms In Dogs
Because it can take some time for the symptoms to move from just a tick bite to Lyme disease, it can sometimes be tough to point out the exact signs of Lyme disease in dogs. Some may notice that their dog appears to be sick weeks or even months after getting the bite, which can make the connection less easy to notice.
Many dogs who have become infected will display symptoms like stiff walking, a lack of energy, or have less of an appetite than they would normally. In addition, you may find swollen lymph nodes in your dog due to the inflammation that results from the bacteria.
Among the most common of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs is joint pain, which will typically be pretty noticeable when your dog walks. This lameness can last even after the disease itself has been treated, which may result in your dog having periods of stiffness or lameness for up to a couple years post-treatment.
In rare cases, Lyme disease dogs can develop a complication known as Lyme Nephritis. This can result in some serious problems like kidney failure and difficulties with renal filtering. Because of this, the dog will need to be screened regularly to keep an eye out for kidney disease.
Another problem that can show up is Lyme Carditis. This is another late-stage complication that is worth gathering some information on, including Lyme Carditis symptoms and the effects it can have.
Lyme Disease In Cats
While it is less common, cats can also contract Cat Lyme disease. If your cats spends a lot of time outside, it's a good idea to use tick preventatives and check them frequently for ticks and tick bites.
Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Typically, antibiotics are used to treat the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. In many cases, doxycycline is the medication of choice, and it's given for around four weeks on a daily basis. While it typically gets the job done, it can discolor the teeth of younger dogs.
If the Lyme disease has caused Lyme Nephritis as well, then things can get more complicated. Lyme Nephritis doesn't have a cure, so it would be a matter of providing the most support possible to your dog's renal system. This may include medications, special diets and frequent vet trips.
Lyme Disease Prevention In Dogs
One of the best ways to avoid Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites from happening in the first place. While most who end up with the illness do recover, it can take up to a couple of years to get there, with plenty of vet trips in between.
The good news is that preventing flea bites doesn't have to be terribly difficult. There are many anti-pest products out there that you can put on your dog to keep the ticks away. In addition, frequently brushing or checking your dog for ticks is a great idea. Finally, if Lyme disease is a problem in your area, consider a Lyme vaccination for your canine companion.
Knowledge is key to keeping yourself and your dog safe, so make sure you're familiar with what a tick bite looks like on a dog, as well as what Lyme disease looks like in your dog, and what tick fever symptoms in dogs can look like. You'll also want to pick up some information on what to do if a tick bites your dog, especially if the tick bite on your dog becomes swollen as this can be a symptom of an infected tick bite.
It's also wise to try to keep your yard picked up. Avoid things like leaf piles or old wood, as these can be prime hiding spaces for unwanted pests. Make sure to clear issues like these up before the heat sets in!
Natural Canine Lyme Disease Prevention
While they can be the most effective, not everyone wants to use unfamiliar chemicals to keep the ticks away from their dog. Or, they may want natural tools they can use in addition to the tick preventative. The following options can help in completely natural ways!
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a common natural flea and tick prevention method for people to use when they want to get ticks and other pests away. You also have the option of using it on your pet, allowing them to drink it or both. Just make sure that it's diluted with water to keep things gentle on your furry friend.
Citrus is also an option for those who want to keep ticks away. What's important to note with this method is that it's typically a good idea to avoid citrus oil extracts or essential oils. While they may work on ticks, they can also cause unpleasant effects in your pet's body.
Keeping your home and yard clean are great ways to avoid too many problems with unwanted pests. Make sure to vacuum regularly, clean up any loose debris in your yard and try to avoid too many areas that may be keen spots for ticks to live.
Whenever your dog goes outside, they run the risk of bringing home a tick. Because of this, it's a good idea to check them often and brush them after they've been outside. These things can help you to find any ticks that may be present and look for bites.
CBD For Dogs
CBD is a relatively new product on the market, and it has been growing in popularity as owners discover the delightful effects it can have in their pets. From easing joint pain to increasing appetite and a while lot more, it's a safe, natural product that can really work wonders.
It's also worth knowing that when you purchase quality CBD, it typically comes from hemp plants which include no THC. As a result, your pet gets all the health benefits without experiencing a “high” or any other drastic changes to their personality. It's really a product that is worth trying out!
CBD For Lyme Disease
While CBD can't cure Lyme disease, it can help to ease some of the symptoms while the antibiotics do their job. CBD is quickly becoming well known for its ability to target and eliminate inflammation within the body, allowing your dog to feel a little better as they heal.
Considering that joint stiffness is a very common symptom of Lyme disease, CBD can be a useful tool in allowing your dog to get around with less stiffness. Just make sure that you talk to your vet about giving your dog a CBD product, to make sure it won't interfere with treatment.
Top CBD Products
It's important to shop for quality CBD products, as those that aren't high quality can run the risk of having absorbed unwanted chemicals or may contain higher levels of THC. Many who just want the safe health benefits of CBD tend to be a little more selective to make sure they only get the positive aspects.
Luckily, companies like Innovet offer organic, no-THC CBD oil, treats and more that can ensure all of the benefits without unwanted chemicals. Consequently, they're a great go-to resource for healthy, natural CBD products that can keep your pet feeling fantastic for the long term!
When you want something that is versatile and easy to use, CBD oil dogs is a great option! It's a liquid substance, making it very easy to simply place a drop or two into your pet's mouth. If for some reason they are to squirmy for that option, you can also easily mix it into their daily food!Another aspect that makes this product so convenient is that you can use this CBD oil for dogs, cats and even CBD horse oil. There are different concentrations of the product available so that you can get exactly what you need for your pet! It's absolutely a product that is worth trying out!
CBD dog treats are also a convenient option for those who want a simple way to provide CBD to their pets. They come in a variety of different delicious flavors, so you can always get your dog's favorite! In addition, there's also a handy guide on the back of each package to ensure you give the correct amount to your pet.
These handy CBD treats are something you can provide daily, that can assist dogs that are older or have health issues, or keep healthy dogs feeling great! The sky is really the limit when it comes to these fantastic, beneficial treats. Your pet is sure to love them!
Lyme Disease In Dogs: The Bottom Line
While Lyme disease can be an unfortunate illness, it's typically one that can be addresses fully. Furthermore, it's also an illness that can easily be prevented in most cases. Using tick preventatives on your pet is a great way to keep ticks from ever biting them in the first place!
If you're unsure what preventative to use, then it can be a good idea to get the recommendation of your vet. They'll be able to help ensure the best possible protection for your location and situation. Then you won't have to worry about Lyme disease effecting your life, or the life of your pet!
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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