How do I know if my pet has Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is one of the most commonly appearing tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Here, our Wake Forest vets share information about Lyme disease in pets: what it is, symptoms to watch for, and treatment options.

What is Lyme disease?

The bacteria borrella is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them. 

What symptoms of Lyme disease should I watch out for?

In our beloved companion animals, the common symptoms of Lyme disease can include anything from general discomfort top depression, malaise, lameness, and loss of appetite.

Also beware of any fever, difficulty breathing or sensitivity to touch.

How can my vet diagnose Lyme disease?

Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease. 

During this appointment, your veterinarian will walk through a number of questions with you. These are intended to help them understand your pet's medical history. They will accompany these questions with tests like urine analysis, x-rays, blood tests and fecal exams. They may also draw fluids from your pet's joints and then analyze them for signs of the disease. 

What happens if my pet receives a Lyme disease diagnosis?

When diagnosed with Lyme disease, pets are usually treated on an outpatient basis. This will typically involve at least a four-week course of antibiotics, though your vet may also prescribe pain medication if the disease has made your dog especially uncomfortable. 

How can I prevent Lyme disease?

Avoiding ticks as much as possible will go a long way to controlling and preventing disease. Sprays, monthly products and vaccines are available, although many work best before dogs are exposed to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. 

Your vet might recommend vaccinations and booster shots to help combat Lyjme disease if you live in an area of North Carolina where this disease is common. You should always remove ticks form you pet as soon as you can to help prevent them from being infected. Though dogs will not directly infect people, our pets may bring infected ticks into the house, which may then attach to another person or animal and transmit Lyme disease.

Do you suspect your pet has Lyme disease? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at North Wake Animal Hospital today.