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Hanford Veterinary Hospital

Lyme Disease in Dogs: What Owners Should Know

Dog with Stick in Forest

April 5, 2022 by Hanford Veterinary Hospital

As a canine owner, it is important to be aware of dog behavioral changes that could indicate an undiagnosed health issue like Lyme disease. Without proper treatment, Lyme disease in dogs can lead to side effects that range from mild to severe, and in extreme cases, could be fatal. Your friends at Hanford Veterinary Hospital are here to help you spot Lyme disease in dogs early so we can work together on a successful treatment plan for your pup: 

Dogs and Tick Bites

Certain ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and can transfer it into a dog’s bloodstream through a bite. Once it enters the bloodstream, it has free reign over your dog’s body and can easily travel to organs and joints. Ticks are commonly found in grassy areas, woods, and any other spots with heavy brush (even your backyard). They must be attached to a dog for about 24-48 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease, which is why it is important to thoroughly check your dog’s coat after spending large periods of time outside. Pay special attention to:

  • The paws and in between the toes

  • The lips

  • The eyes

  • The ears (including inside the ears)

  • The tail

Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention to help reduce your dog’s risk of Lyme disease. 

The Signs of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Even with caution, sometimes a sneaky tick can latch onto your dog without your knowledge and give him Lyme disease. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian:

  • Disinterest in food

  • Less energy

  • Favoring a certain paw or leg (this could shift between various spots on the body)

  • Swollen joints

  • Other noticeable behavioral changes

In most cases, the veterinarian can prescribe a round of antibiotics that will get rid of the infection before it can cause any significant damage. Without treatment, however, Lyme disease could eventually cause kidney failure.

A strong defense is the best protection against Lyme disease in dogs, and the team at Hanford Veterinary Hospital is here to help. From preventives to tick checks during wellness exams, we make it easy to get your dog the veterinary care she needs. To learn more, please call (559) 584-4481.