Lyme Disease Rash in Dogs

Canine Lyme disease rash is also known as Erythematic Migrans. This rash occurs when the dog is bitten by a deer tick and infected by borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. The bacteria can be transmitted to the dog only if the tick stays on the dog’s coat for at least 48 hours. Bacteria are transmitted when the tick sucks the dog’s blood. Only 10 percent of dogs exposed to the bacteria contract Lyme disease. The disease is diagnosed only after blood tests are carried out and can be cured by administering antibiotics for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Although the incidence of the disease is higher in woody areas or on farms, urban pets also contract the disease.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease Include:

Other Symptoms of Lyme Disease

A symptom unique to the disease is the appearance of a circular or oval rash that is red in color. This rash grows gradually in size. The rash, known as Lyme disease rash is paler towards the center and looks like a bull’s eye. However, very few infected dogs exhibit this rash. Moreover, the rash is difficult to detect as it’s under the dog’s fur and an absence of this rash doesn’t mean that the pet isn’t suffering from Lyme disease. Some dogs develop renal disease as a result of Lyme disease. This is usually fatal to the dog. Dogs can also suffer from heart or nervous system disorders after contracting Lyme disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose as it presents itself differently in individual pets. It can therefore be confused with other diseases. Moreover, in the initial stages, the dog manifests no symptoms and, hence, diagnosis is usually delayed. After a dog has been diagnosed with the help of blood tests, certain penicillin based antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline are administered over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. The dog shows an improvement if the condition is detected and treated in the early stages but it takes a long time to eliminate the organism from the pet’s body. Sometimes the organism may never be eliminated even though the dog appears to be cured.

Vaccination to Prevent Lyme Disease

Several vaccinations have been developed to prevent canine Lyme disease. You should administer the vaccine to your unexposed pet annually if your area of residence and your pet’s lifestyle increase the risk of contracting Lyme disease. These vaccines can cause reactions or side effects and should only be administered if necessary, particularly after consulting the vet. Vaccination is contraindicated in a dog that is already suffering from Lyme disease.

Other Forms of Lyme Disease Prevention

Besides vaccinations, flea collars, tick repellents and tick dips can be used to help safeguard your pet from the deer tick. You should mow your lawn regularly and clear your home and lawn of debris to keep ticks away. Apart from this, dogs should be groomed with a flea comb soon after they have been walked in grassy or woody areas.

It’s best to seek medical care at the earliest if your dog exhibits any of the above mentioned symptoms as early detection of the disease can help you to completely eliminate bacteria from the dog’s system.