Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month: Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme Disease in Dogs

April is Lyme Disease Prevention Month. Lyme Disease in dogs is a common illness spread through bacteria transmitted by deer tick bites. This disease can lead to serious complications and even death in rare cases. Therefore, knowing the symptoms of Lyme Disease can help keep your dog healthy. We have put together some information on Lyme Disease, as well as tips for preventing Lyme Disease in your dog.

Lyme Disease in Dogs

What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. A vector (or “carrier”) is any agent or animal that carries a disease agent without being affected by the disease. Deer ticks—which are carriers of Lyme’s— are a common woodland parasite that is smaller than the typical dog tick. Therefore, they can be harder to detect.

Also known as Borrelia burgdorferi, the disease agent itself is a wormlike bacterium which the deer tick carries and transmits when an infected tick bites a host animal (or person). Deer ticks are common not only in woods, but also marshlands and even backyards—any places grasses grow.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Many dogs who develop Lyme Disease have recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. In some cases, the lameness lasts for only three to four days but recurs days to weeks later, either in the same leg or in different legs (shifting-leg lameness). There may be swelling of one or more joints, in addition to them being warm or painful.

In addition, some dogs may develop kidney problems. Lyme Disease sometimes leads to glomerulonephritis. This is an inflammation and accompany dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli (essentially, a blood filter). Eventually, kidney failure may occur, as your dog begins to exhibit such signs as the following:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lack of appetite
  • weight loss
  • increased urination and thirst
  • abnormal fluid buildups

Other symptoms of Lyme Disease include the following:

  • Stiff walk with an arched back
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, lack of appetite and depression
  • Swelling of superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite
  • Heart abnormalities (this is in rare cases)
  • Nervous system complications (this is rare cases)

How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs

The following are simple measures you can take to prevent Lyme Disease from affecting you and your dog:

  • Avoid areas where deer ticks are likely to be prevalent. These areas include such as deep woods, marshes or grasslands.
  • Limit direct exposure to deer ticks. You can do this by wearing long pants and long sleeves.
  • Use tick repellent. Contact All Pets for our recommendations on the types of tick repellents available that are safe for dogs.
  • Use tick prevention on your dog. Brands such as Nexgard, Frontline and Advantix can help prevent Lyme Disease.
  • Perform frequent tick-checks. After returning from an outing, remember to check yourself and your dog thoroughly for deer ticks. Deer ticks are smaller than dog ticks, so we recommend combing carefully, especially those with longer fur.


These are just the basics of Lyme Disease in dogs. To begin your treatment or prevention plan, contact us at All Pets Veterinary Medical with the link below!

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