Symptoms Of Lyme Disease in Dogs, Causes And Treatment

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease in Dogs, Causes And Treatment

Lyme Disease is an infectious disease caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as Ixodes Scapularis. Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs can range from mild to severe, usually occurring within two to four weeks of tick exposure. Early signs of Lyme Disease in Dogs include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, joint swelling, and limping. As the disease progresses, infected dogs may experience abnormal heart rhythms, irregular breathing, lameness, kidney failure, and neurological issues. Treatment of Lyme Disease in Dogs involves antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, and supportive care, including rest and pain relief. Prevention is the best approach to managing Lyme Disease in Dogs; and the use of spot-on flea and tick products, such as Frontline, is strongly recommended.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease in Dogs, Causes And Treatmentlyme 1

Lyme disease in dogs is a potentially debilitating condition that is caused by infection with a type of bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is typically transmitted to dogs through the bite of the black-legged or deer tick. Dogs that become infected with Lyme disease can display a range of clinical signs, including fever, lameness, joint swelling, decreased appetite, and swelling of the lymph nodes.

The first symptom of Lyme disease in dogs is usually lameness. The affected leg may be acutely painful and swollen and the dog may show signs of reluctance to move the leg, especially after exercise or activity. Dogs may also run a fever and experience swelling and pain in multiple joints. If Lyme disease is not caught and treated early on, it can lead to more serious and chronic problems, including damage to the joints, kidneys, and even the heart and nervous system.

Fortunately, Lyme disease in dogs can be prevented with vaccination and yearly tick control treatments. If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, it can be treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, although some cases may require a more complex treatment. It is important to monitor your dog closely for any signs of illness while it is being treated for Lyme disease and to call your veterinarian if any new symptoms arise.

Is Lyme Disease Serious In Dogs?

Yes, Lyme Disease can be serious in dogs. Infection can cause severe arthritis, kidney and/or heart failure, and in some cases, even death if not treated promptly and properly.

Lyme Disease Symptoms Dogs Vomiting

Lyme disease in dogs is caused by a bacterial infection from being bitten by a tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease include vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, joint pain, and a decrease in activity. If left untreated, it can cause more serious complications, such as kidney failure, heart problems, and neurologic issues. Vomiting specifically can be a sign of gastrointestinal upset, such as inflammation of the lining of the stomach or intestines, caused by the bacteria. Treatment for the disease consists of antibiotics to help stop the spread of the bacteria and reduce the symptoms. It is important to visit the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan if your dog exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned.

Lyme Disease in Dogs Kidney Symptoms

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs will vary depending on the severity of the infection, but typically generally include fever, listlessness, joint pain, lameness, anorexia, and swollen lymph nodes. Kidney symptoms associated with Lyme disease in dogs may include decreased urine production, increased thirst, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and frequent urination. If untreated, it can lead to long-term organ damage, including chronic renal failure. Treatment typically involves antibiotics.

How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease?lyme 2

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to dogs through the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks need to be attached for 24 to 48 hours before transmitting Lyme disease to an animal. The bacteria that causes Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks become infected by feeding on infected hosts, most commonly wild rodents and birds. In some areas, up to 50-90% of ticks may be infected with Lyme disease. When an infected tick bites a dog, it transmits the bacteria directly into the bloodstream. Once the bacteria has been transmitted, the dog will typically begin to show signs of Lyme disease within 2-5 months.

How Lyme Disease Is Transmitted?

Lyme disease is typically transmitted to dogs by the bite of a deer tick or black-legged tick. These ticks are much smaller than other types of ticks, with adult deer ticks typically measuring only 2mm. Once the tick has attached itself to the dog’s skin, it can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease directly into the bloodstream through its saliva.

How Do You Detect Lyme Disease In Dogs?

Detecting Lyme disease in dogs can be difficult, as many of the signs of Lyme disease are non-specific. The best method of diagnosis is an antibody test through a veterinary lab. This test will detect antibodies in the blood that are produced to fight the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that cause Lyme disease and help to confirm the diagnosis. If your dog has already presented with clinical signs that indicate Lyme disease, your veterinarian may recommend the antibody test to confirm the diagnosis. Other tests and procedures may also help in the diagnosis, such as a complete blood count analysis, urine analysis, and other tests to rule out other causes of similar symptoms.

SEE ALSO: How Many Nipples Do Male Dogs Have? We Have The Answer!

What Are The 3 Stages of Lyme Disease in Dogs?lyme 3

  1. Early stage: Symptoms can range from fever, swollen joints, and reduced appetite to fatigue, shifting leg lameness, and enlarged lymph nodes.
  2. Early disseminated stage: Dogs may begin to show signs of neurologic disease, which include circling, head tilt, facial paralysis, difficulty walking, and seizures.
  3. Late stage: Symptoms can include weight loss, kidney problems, arthritis, and neurological problems such as partial paralysis and tremors. Without appropriate treatment, dogs can develop chronic and debilitating symptoms that can be difficult to treat.

First Symptoms of Lyme Disease In Dogs

  • Lethargy and loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lameness or joint swelling
  • Fever
  • Reduced activity or difficulty moving
  • Coughing and respiratory problems
  • Skin irritation or hair loss
  • Behavioral changes, such as signs of aggression, agitation, or depression

Symptoms of Advanced Lyme Disease in Dogs

  • Swollen joints, lameness, and limping
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • High fever, lethargy, and fatigue
  • Poor coat quality
  • Cognitive decline and changes in behavior
  • Neurological signs, seizures, and partial paralysis
  • Eye problems such as uveitis, retinal detachment, and crumbling eyeshadow
  • Abnormal heart rate or heart murmurs
  • Persistent cough and stubborn ear infections

Neurological Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

  • Weakness or incoordination in the limbs (paresis or ataxia).
  • Diminished or absent reflexes.
  • Depression or lethargy.
  • Inability to groom properly.
  • Muscle tremors or shaking.
  • Head tilting (Palaisa).
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Movement abnormalities
  • Unusual vocalizations or changes in behavior.

What Are Eight Clinical Signs of A Dog With Lyme Disease?

  • Lameness, often shifting from one leg to another
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Kidney inflammation or failure

What Are The Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease in Dogs?

Symptoms of untreated Lyme disease in dogs can include decreased energy levels, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and depression. They may suffer from swelling and stiffness of the legs, especially in the hind legs, limping, difficulty breathing, and an abnormal heart rhythm. Other symptoms can include decreased thirst, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and a lack of coordination.

What Are Some Potential Health Complications of Untreated Canine Lyme Disease?

  • Kidney Disease: This can result in decreased function of the kidneys and can be fatal in severe cases.
  • Heart Disease: Lyme disease can cause damage to the heart and lead to cardiac arrhythmias, heart blockages, congestive heart failure, and myocarditis.
  • Neurological Issues: Lyme disease can cause inflammation of the neurons, leading to ataxia (loss of coordination) and other impairments.
  • Joint Problems: Lyme disease bacteria can invade joints, causing lameness and pain as well as swelling, inflammation, and destruction of joint tissues.
  • Ocular Issues: Lyme disease can damage the eye, resulting in ocular palsies, inflammation of the inner eye structures, and increased pressure inside the eye.
  • Chronic Fatigue: Lyme disease can cause extreme exhaustion or even Cognitive dysfunction.
  • Skin Problems: Lyme disease can cause rashes or other skin lesions.

How Is Lyme Disease in Dogs Treated?lyme 4

The treatment for Lyme Disease in dogs will depend on the severity of the condition. Mild to moderate cases may be treated with oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin. More severe cases may require IV antibiotics, and require hospitalization. In addition to antibiotics, supportive care such as nutritional support, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest may be recommended for our four-legged friends.

How Much, On Average, Does It Cost To Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The average cost to treat Lyme disease in dogs typically ranges between $100 and $500, depending on the severity of the pet’s illness and the type of diagnostic and treatment options chosen.

Vaccines for Lyme Disease in Dogs

The only vaccine approved to help protect dogs from contracting Lyme disease is the recombinant outer membrane vaccine. This vaccine is designed to stimulate the dog’s immune system to help prevent infection from bacteria that cause Lyme disease. It is recommended that dogs receive the vaccination at 12 weeks old and then get booster shots every three weeks until they reach 16 weeks old. After the initial shots, boosters are necessary every year after that to ensure that your dog is protected from the disease. Additionally, your veterinarian may suggest a combination vaccine for Lyme disease, along with other common illnesses that can affect dogs.

How Does The Lyme Vaccine Work?

The Lyme vaccine works by stimulating the production of antibodies to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. When the body is exposed to the vaccine, the immune system recognizes the bacteria and develops protective antibodies. These antibodies can then actively seek out and destroy the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria if it is encountered. If the bacteria is successfully destroyed before it can cause an infection, vaccine recipients are protected from the disease.

How Can Pet Parents Prevent Canine Lyme Disease?

  • Vaccinate your pet. Speak with your veterinarian to find out if the vaccine is right for your pet and their lifestyle.
  • Use tick prevention products such as flea and tick collars, topical products, and oral medications.
  • Examine your pet for ticks every day, especially after a walk or playing outdoors. Pay special attention to areas such as the ears, tail, legs, and between the toes.
  • Keep your yard clean and free of tall grass and debris that may harbor ticks.
  • Avoid leaving your pet outdoors for long periods of time without supervision.
  • Consider using protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants when taking your pet out for a walk.

SEE ALSO: How Many Nipples Do Female Dogs Have?


Q. Is shaking a symptom of Lyme disease in dogs?

A. No, shaking is not a symptom of Lyme disease in dogs. However, your dog may experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, fever, lameness, joint pain, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes if they are infected with Lyme disease.

Q. Is sneezing a symptom of Lyme disease in dogs?

A. No, sneezing is not a symptom of Lyme disease in dogs. Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lameness, and joint swelling.

Q. When do symptoms of Lyme disease appear in dogs?

A. It can take up to five months for symptoms to appear. Signs of Lyme disease usually appear between 4-6 weeks after a tick bite, although they could show up as early as 3-4 days after.


Lyme disease in dogs can be a serious medical condition that can have severe consequences if it is not treated promptly. Symptoms vary from dog to dog, and treatment options vary depending on the individual dog. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to fight the bacteria, as well as supportive care to keep secondary infections at bay. People should practice preventative insurance, such as keeping their pets in fenced yards, avoiding Lyme disease hotspots, and using flea and tick preventatives regularly. With early diagnosis and treatment, most dog owners can expect to help their dogs live long healthy lives.

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