Dogs can be affected with Lyme disease, caused by borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transmitted by tick bite. This disease affects the dogs slowly and you can see a number of symptoms. In some cases, this disease can even be life-threatening to the dogs.
Ticks are the main carriers of this infectious disease. When ticks bite any animal such as a deer or rat which has been infected with Lyme disease carrying bacteria, they become the hosts for this pathogen and transmit it to other healthy animals such as dogs, by latching on to them.
The bacteria starts to affect the dog within a few hours after being bitten by the tick. If you find any ticks attached to your dog’s body, you should remove it immediately with tweezers or tick specific tools. Your dog may get ticks, if he goes into the woods or tick infested areas and the disease can affect them any time of the year.
Lyme disease can also affect humans, when transmitted by bacteria carrying ticks. It cannot be transmitted directly through your pet, but by the tick, when it bites you. Ticks are mostly found in bushy areas, woods and marshes. The ticks causing Lyme disease are referred to as deer ticks or black-legged ticks. They don’t have wings to fly and cannot jump as well. They only crawl onto the hosts body, when a dog or other animal comes close by.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Dogs may take several weeks or a few months to exhibit any symptoms of infection. Lyme disease may also go undiagnosed in most cases. Usually infected dogs can experience
- Swelling in the joints
- Lameness in joints, which can make them limp
- Inactivity and weakness
- Kidney problems
- Stiffness, which can cause pain
Your vet will be able to diagnose this disease by running some tests and provide treatment. You should always check your dog’s fur when it has been outdoors or in a new environment for the presence of ticks and get rid of them immediately, to prevent the occurrence of Lyme disease.