Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms: Six Indicators

Lyme disease dog symptoms can be hard to spot. However, if you believe your dog may have contracted Lyme disease, compare your dog's symptoms to the indicators of Lyme disease below.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs usually develop two to five months after your dog is bitten by an infected deer tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • A fever running between 103 and 105 degrees
  • Lameness
  • Swelling in the joints, which appears suddenly
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

The lameness associated with Lyme disease symptoms in dogs appears suddenly, and may move mysteriously from one leg to another. This is different from the lameness associated with arthritis, which comes on slowly over a long period of time, and affects the same joint or joints consistently.

Lyme disease symptoms in dogs have been known to clear up mysteriously without treatment, only to reappear some time later. By this time the disease will have become significantly more advanced in your dog's body.

Complications of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Left untreated, Lyme disease in dogs can have a number of severe consequences. Lyme disease in dogs can cause progressive kidney disease leading to renal failure. Heart problems and nervous disorders can also occur.

Treatment of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease symptoms in dogs are treated with tetracycline or penicillin-based antibiotics. Most dogs recover in about two weeks, but in some cases antibiotics must be administered for thirty days or longer. Some dogs experience a recurrence of Lyme disease symptoms within a few weeks or months of finishing treatment. These dogs will need to undergo the treatment program again.

Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Tick control and vaccination are two options for the prevention of Lyme disease infection in dogs. Vaccinations against Lyme disease can be administered at twelve weeks of age; your puppy will require two shots, three weeks apart, followed by yearly boosters.

Some veterinarians are skeptical of Lyme disease vaccines. However, a tick control program, such as a once-monthly topical medication, is very effective in the prevention of Lyme disease.