Canine Lyme Disease Treatment With Doxycycline

Canine lyme disease (borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. For the disease to be transmitted by the tick to a dog, it must be attached for 48 hours. It may take several weeks for the disease to manifest itself in the dog after exposure. The disease affects joint, muscle and heart tissues. Sometimes a dog will develop life-long joint pain resulting from the damage of the joint done by the disease.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Symptoms vary from animal to animal; however, common symptoms are fever (103 to 105 degrees for dogs), swelling in the joints, lameness, loss of appetite, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes. Usually the dog develops a limp, most likely in one of the forelegs. Some dogs develop severe kidney failure, heart problems or a nervous system disease.

Blood tests detect the antibodies made by the dog to fight off infection. Only about 10% of the dogs with the antibody actually contract the disease. The Canine SNAP 3Dx or the C6 Snap test, which tests for the C6 antibodies to lyme disease, will determine whether the symptoms are signs of lyme disease or not. Antibiotics are administered to combat the disease; however, if the dog does not improve after 48 hours, it may not be lyme disease and further tests are necessary.

Glomerular Disease

Glomerular disease is a type of kidney damage occurring when the immune system is stimulated over a very long time frame by a latent infection and can develop in a dog with lyme disease since the bacteria is never completely gone from the dog's system. It results from the antibodies being deposited in the kidney, causing damage. Urine tests detecting the urine protein to creatinine ratio will determine the onset of glomerular disease.

Treatment With Antibiotics

Treatment involves using either a penicillin-based or tetracycline-based antibiotic such as amoxicilin or doxycycline for a period of 14 to 30 days. Sometimes the organism is not cleared from the system even after 30 days and a relapse will occur after the medication is discontinued. Some dogs never completely rid themselves of the organism despite treatment but never show any further signs of the disease either.

Preventing Canine Lyme Disease

Prevention is best by the use of tick control programs since the lyme vaccine against the disease is still under controversy due to some complications with its use, including the development of kidney disease. Some dogs have contracted the disease from the vaccine; however, vaccinated dogs are less likely to contract the disease. Vaccinations can be started after 12 weeks with two doses given three weeks apart and then yearly boosters. It is also recommended that the vaccine be only given where lyme disease is a problem.

Some tick control programs kill the tick or cause it to drop off prior to the 48-hour deadline. They include: Advantix®, Promeris Canine®, the Preventic® collar, Vectra 3D® and Frontline®. Products using the repellents Permethrin and Amitraz are also effective, including insecticides. Keeping a 90-foot insect free radius around a dog's house will effectively prevent any tick infestations or bites and therefore prevent any tick-borne diseases.