Not only do a number of my neighbors have chronic Lyme disease, but there have also been a number of dogs infected. My neighbor behind me actually had to put their dog down due to frozen joints and seizures. If you have a dog, understanding Lyme disease is important.
Canine Lyme disease or Lyme disease in dogs is caused by deer ticks. Deer ticks are very common in the DC metro area. If you suspect that your dog has Lyme it can be more challenging that Lyme in humans simply because a dog can’t tell you what it’s feeling. While we can generally interpret their wants and needs and if they are in pain, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact issues. Like humans, it is important, as pet owners, to know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and as well as observe and take preventive measurements.
Lyme disease in dogs can be life threatening. The effects of Lyme disease in dogs include inflammation of the joints and kidney problems that, if left untreated, may progress into a more severe condition. Inflammation of the joints is characterized by a condition known as shifting leg lameness. This shifting leg lameness is due to the Lyme infection locating in the joints. This causes an inflammation that switches between legs. Difficulty in movement, such as walking stiffly with an arched back, is due to this inflammation which can be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes and pain near the affected area. It can also be accompanied by fever.
Lyme disease in dogs also affects the kidney – particularly the kidney’s glomeruli. Kidney glomeruli serve as blood filters. When the kidneys fail due to lack of immediate and proper medication, accumulation of body fluids in the abdomen and other tissue may occur. This progressive effect of Lyme disease in dogs will present further complications including thirst due to frequent urination, weight loss due to loss of appetite, and vomiting and diarrhea. Heart abnormalities and complications on dog’s nervous system are rare, but may occur in very severe cases.
Your dog is much more likely to recover if you catch the disease early on. So when you think you pet dog may have acquired Lyme disease, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will generally provide antibiotics for treating Lyme disease in dogs.
Preventing Lyme disease in dogs includes vaccination and tick control. Vaccines for Lyme disease in dogs are currently controversial since vaccination before exposure to Borrelia bacteria may give our dogs some immunity towards infection. Think carefully before having your dog vaccinated – many vets will not give them.
Tick control is, of course, an excellent preventative measure. Any tick management plan, in addition to potential vaccination of your dog, should include yard barrier sprays. Our natural Flower Power or highly effective non-toxic Simply Organic barrier spray programs can successfully repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes and other disease-causing pests in your house and garden. Flower Power Programs take advantage of synthetic derivative from Chrysanthemum flowers to get rid of these pests. Also, our Simply Organic Program uses Rosemary and Cedar oil to effectively eliminate these pests from your home. Check out our Barrier Spray Programs to know more about these safe products.