Flu-Like Symptoms: Lyme Disease Mistaken for Flu

There are lots of symptoms Lyme disease may cause to the infected animal. Some of these symptoms are:

  • fever
  • swollen glands and joins
  • weight loss
  • soreness of the limbs or muscles
  • lethargy

There have also been reports of problems that occur in the heart, liver, nervous system and other vital organs. You may also notice a temperament change in your dog. The symptoms vary from dog to dog, from mild to sever, and they can mimic symptoms from other conditions. Some of these symptoms are associated with the flu, which can make it difficult when trying to diagnose the problem with your dog.

Acute and Sub-Acute Lyme Disease

The acute phase of the illness takes place between 1 to 4 weeks after the infection was introduced to the dog. During this period a flu-like illness will take over the dog. You will notice:

The dog's muscles and joints may be very sore, too. This can cause the dog to wince whenever it is touched, and it may even whine in pain when he is picked up. If you get your dog taken to a lab, there may be signs of a low red blood cell count and a high white blood cell count. All of this combines into an easy diagnosis of the flu, which is why dogs are often misdiagnosed during this stage.

It becomes even more difficult to notice Lyme disease symptoms once the disease has moved into the sub-acute stage. This stage can last months or years. The dog's body weight will normalize and all laboratory abnormalities fade away, becoming too subtle for detection. This often further leads one to believe that their dog had the flu.

Lab Testings

It is vital that you have numerous lab tests done on your dog during the acute stage of the disease. As stated, it becomes extremely difficult to discover it once it enters the sub-acute stage. During this stage the disease is living in stasis with the host. The liver and pancreas should be tested for higher than normal enzymes. The dog should also be tested for total protein values, because it may be low if the dog has a suppressed immune system.

Getting a complete blood count test done can help detect the disease, but it really depends on what stage the disease is currently in. It may be the key to finding it, it could say that the dog is completely healthy, or it could state that the dog has the flu.

Where to Find Ticks on Animals

You should always check your dog for ticks after returning from a wooded area. Most ticks are found around the head and neck, but they can also be found on other areas of the body. Ticks can often be very small, so it is crucial that you look very closely. Ticks can also drop off the host before they are found, which can infect the house or area around the house the dog lives in. Keep an ear out to hear of any word of dogs developing Lyme disease in the area. This would be a key sign to check your dog for ticks.