Does My Dog Have Lyme Disease?

Does My Dog Have Lyme Disease?

Does My Dog Have Lyme Disease?

Does My Dog Have Lyme Disease?


Lyme disease can affect your dog regardless of age, breed, or size. The more time your animal companion spends outdoors where ticks are widespread, the higher its risk of infection. Sadly, there are a few things that make this bacterial illness pretty scary. Ticks that carry Lyme disease aren't easy to locate. Sometimes, it's difficult to spot a tick bite, particularly if your little furry friend has a thick coat. The same ticks that infect your dog can also infect you and other people. Additionally, symptoms of infection come and go, vary from mild to severe, and even mimic other health conditions. In some cases, they don't manifest at all until many months later. So, how do you know if your dog has Lyme disease? Here are the common warning signs you should watch out for:


  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lameness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lethargy or reduced energy levels.
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the body.
  • Limping, stiffness, and swelling of joints.
  • Generalized pain, discomfort, or stiffness.

Every dog infected with Lyme disease will display different symptoms, depending on which body parts it attacks. Severe cases can result in heart disease, kidney disease, and central nervous system disorders. 


How Is It Diagnosed?


You have to visit your veterinarian to make an accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease in your dog. The assessment will combine a history check, physical signs, and a series of tests. For your four-legged best friend, the two blood tests for detecting Lyme disease are the C6 and Quant C6 tests. Your vet will perform both. 


The C6 test will identify antibodies against a protein known as C6. The presence of those antibodies indicates an active Lyme disease infection. The test will spot these C6 antibodies within three to five weeks after an infected tick bites your dog. It can be detected in their bloodstream even before they show any symptoms. After the C6 test, your vet will conduct the Quant C6 test along with a urinalysis. It will determine whether or not your dog will need antibiotic treatment. 


Other tests may also be performed with various degrees of sensitivity, although less commonly. These include polymerase chain reaction, joint fluid analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and culture. 


How Is It Treated?


Treatment for your infected dog generally depends on the symptoms they're showing. Mild cases of Lyme disease are successfully treated with antibiotics. But severe ones usually require pain relief, and fluids may be administered into the bloodstream. Treatment may take several weeks. Sadly, it may not always be successful, especially for pets worst impacted by the disease. 


You'd know if the treatment is successful if your dog's antibody levels have dropped by 40 percent or more after six to eight weeks. That's for cases where Lyme disease is still in its early stages. You can expect a decrease after three months if the infection is in its advanced stage. 


Do you suspect that your dog may have been infected with Lyme disease? Don't wait for any signs to manifest. Protect your dog and your entire family today. Talk with our pet health experts in Port Royal Veterinary Hospital. Call our office now at 843-379-7387 in Port Royal, South Carolina, to make an appointment.