Among the many problems that a dog may experience is a problem with parasites, including ticks. Those arachnids attach themselves to the dog to feed on the blood but they also may leave something behind that can cause serious problems. It is a type of bacteria that is found in the Borrelia burgdorferi group and when a dog has an infection from that bacterium, it leads to a condition that is known as Lyme disease.
Most people recognize that Lyme disease can be a problem in humans but it is also an issue that can affect canines as well. It is interesting to note, however, that many dogs may be affected by Lyme disease or may carry the bacteria but only approximately 10% of the dogs are going to display any symptoms of Lyme disease. When they do show the symptoms, however, it can be a serious problem.
One of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease is lameness that affects the dog because of inflammation. It affects the joints in the dog, but the lameness may not last for a lifetime. In fact, they may suffer from the problem for only a few days and then it may disappear completely for several weeks before it returns again. Many dogs may also suffer from a problem with depression or a lack of appetite when Lyme disease becomes an issue. In some dogs, it can lead to a problem with kidney disease but this is more likely to happen in certain breeds including golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Bernese Mountain dogs and Shetland sheepdogs.
One of the problems associated with Lyme disease is the fact that it can be quite difficult to diagnose. Often, people will take their dog to the veterinarian when they displayed the symptoms but it is often necessary to look at the background of the dog and the history as well as what part of the dogs are being affected. The veterinarian can then do a blood chemistry test, urinalysis or blood cell count along with x-rays to give a proper diagnosis.
In most cases, Lyme disease in dogs is treated on an outpatient basis but there may be times when the veterinarian feels it is best for the dog to remain under their care, especially if they have severe problems with their kidneys. An antibiotic will likely be prescribed and they may need to take the antibiotics for a month or more, depending upon the severity of the case. It may help in some cases but sometimes, the symptoms will never fully resolve.
Along with treating the problem with Lyme disease, it is often best if it is prevented when possible. This would include checking the coat of the dog on a regular basis and removing any ticks by hand. There are also a number of products available to help reduce a problem with ticks including topical treatments and pills.