A dog in the forest.

As we head into the summer, certain pests like ticks become more prevalent in our wooded areas. The beautiful weather makes it hard to avoid the outdoors with our pets, but the increased risk for ticks makes it more important to be vigilant. Lyme disease in dogs is a serious infection that could cause significant health issues. Keep reading to learn more about this disease and how to spot it:

Lyme Disease in Dogs: The Beginnings

Ticks live in long grass, wooded areas, marshes, and even short brush. As your dog walks by, a tick can crawl onto his coat and take a bite to hold on. If the tick is left attached to your dog for at least a day, it can transmit Lyme disease to your poor, unsuspecting pup.

If an infected tick bites a dog, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi can transfer the disease into the bloodstream. From there, it can travel throughout the body and affect the organs, the joints, or cause a general illness. 

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Lyme Disease

Ticks are small and hard to spot, which means your dog can easily come into contact with Lyme disease without you noticing. If you observe any of the following, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian:

  • Fever
  • Disinterest in food
  • No energy
  • Lameness in one or more limbs or joints
  • Stiffness or difficulty walking
  • Visible swelling around the joints
  • Dog behavior changes

Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics that should clear up the infection within a month. Some dogs will need a longer course to beat Lyme disease. Without medical intervention, Lyme disease can get progressively worse, and in some cases, could even become fatal.

Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

Monthly flea and tick preventives can help you avoid dealing with Lyme disease in the first place. You should also thoroughly check your dog’s coat each time she comes inside after spending time near grass, brush, or wooded areas. Pay special attention between the toes, on the lips, and inside the ears. If you find any ticks, use tweezers to remove the tick as soon as possible. If you spend a lot of time outside with your pup, ask your veterinarian to check for ticks during your next wellness exam.

Parkside Animal Hospital is here for all your veterinary needs. From wellness exams to dermatology and surgery, we keep the pets of North Bay happy and healthy. To learn more, call (705) 223-3404.