Have you ever heard of Lyme disease? This condition is a common illness in dogs, and it is spread through the bite of specific types of ticks. In some parts of the United States and around the world, Lyme disease may be more common than in others. However, it is a potential risk anywhere ticks are present.
In the article below, you’ll find out more information about some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs. If you notice these symptoms in your pet, you can take them to the vet right away for more assistance.
If your dog’s body is fighting an infection or illness, they will be much more tired than normal. They may sleep a lot more often, or may simply be uninterested in getting up out of bed to play very often.
If your dog’s fatigue lasts more than a day, it’s a good sign they’re is sick with something. Take your dog to the vet right away to have them examined and to find out the root cause of the problem. If Lyme disease is the cause, you may also notice several other symptoms on this list.
Loss of Appetite
As your dog grows sicker from Lyme disease, they may lose her interest in eating. A dog who is uninterested in eating for more than a day is likely a sick dog and should be checked out thoroughly by the vet. Loss of appetite is a common symptom of a variety of illnesses in dogs, and not just Lyme disease, so your vet will need to let you know for sure what’s going on.
If your dog’s appetite loss extends for more than a couple of days, your vet may need to give you some prescription food for your pet. This food may help your dog become more interested in eating and can make sure they get the nutrients they need, too.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
If your dog’s lymph nodes become swollen, you may be able to see or feel the swelling when you pet your dog. The most common lymph nodes affected by Lyme disease are those under the dog’s chin on the sides of the neck, but other lymph nodes may also swell as a result of this condition, too.
Swollen lymph nodes may be hard or movable. They may cause pain to your dog when you touch them, or they may limit the range of motion of your dog’s head or limbs, depending on the location of the swelling.
Lameness is usually the first symptom pet owners notice when dealing with Lyme disease in their dogs. Regardless of where the tick bite in question occurred on the dog’s body, the progression of the disease and the inflammation it causes usually lead to lameness in one or more legs. The back legs are more commonly affected, but any leg can become lame from Lyme disease.
You may notice your dog dragging one of its legs or may find that they can no longer jump and play the way they used to. In these instances, you should take your dog to the vet right away for a full diagnosis and recommendations for management, too.
Swollen joints are one of the more likely symptoms your dog may experience when dealing with Lyme disease. These joints may be so swollen you can visibly see the swelling, and they may be hot to the touch or very stiff and painful to your pet. The problem may come and go with flare-ups of Lyme disease.
Your vet will help you figure out the best way of managing your dog’s swollen joints during Lyme disease flare-ups. Your pet may need pain medication, cold therapy, physical therapy, or other methods of dealing with this potential problem, although every dog’s individual needs are different.
Pain is a common symptom of Lyme disease in dogs, and it is associated with many of the other symptoms on this list. However, your dog’s pain may extend beyond joint pain only, and it’s important to pay close attention to their behavior to see if you can pinpoint the location of their pain.
Your vet may give your dog pain medication to help with this issue during flare-ups. Your dog may also need to go to physical therapy or try some alternative treatments such as acupuncture or chiropractic care instead. Your vet can give you more information about which methods may work for your pet.
When in Doubt, Contact Your Vet
Lyme disease is a serious condition for dogs. However, with the right assistance from your vet and attention to your pet’s needs, you can help your dog live a fulfilling life even if they’re diagnosed with this condition.
Be sure to follow the advice given to you by your vet throughout your dog’s illness. Although your dog will have Lyme disease for the rest of their life, you can manage your dog’s flare-ups and help improve their quality of life too.
At VMC of St. Lucie County, we’re here for all your pet care needs. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions about your pet’s health and well-being.