Neurological Disorders Caused by Canine Lyme Disease

Canine Lyme disease is caused by a tick, which passes bacteria into your dog's bloodstream. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to many severe symptoms, such as neurological disorders.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease is caused by primarily by deer ticks, which appear frequently in the northeastern parts of the United States, but may also be caused by several different types of ticks that live throughout the country. When the ticks latches his head into your dog's bloodstream, he passes on a bacteria, which causes the symptoms exhibited in Lyme disease.

It takes 24 hours for your dog to become infected, so finding and disposing of ticks promptly greatly reduces your dog's chances of contracting an illness.

Neurological disorders associated with Lyme disease are rare. Lyme disease can disrupt many functions in the kidneys, heart and joints, so more commonly, you will see symptoms such as high fever, swollen lymph nodes, inflammatory joints, lameness and loss of appetite. Heart disease and kidney disease also may occur.

Though rare, there is a possibility for neurological disorders to occur once your dog is infected with Lyme disease. Possible neurological disorders include increased irritability and aggression, depression, confusion, over-eating, nerve damage in limbs and facial paralysis.

Though not as much is known about neurological disorders in dogs, humans suffering from Lyme disease can also have hallucinations, sleep disorders, memory loss and decreased concentration. Since humans and canines contract the disease the same way and have similar symptoms, there's a possibility dogs have these symptoms as well but can't tell us.

Neurological disorders from Lyme disease are also suspected to lead to seizures in dogs already predisposed to other conditions that cause seizures, such as epilepsy.

Any sudden behavior change in your dog, especially if it is accompanied by lameness, swollen lymph nodes or fever, should be presented to your veterinarian as it may be a sign of Lyme disease.

Prevention of Lyme Disease

While there is antibiotic treatment available for Lyme disease, it is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are common of many other diseases. Thus, prevention is the best option.

There are several tick repellents available through your veterinarian or over the counter as well as a Lyme disease vaccine, though some veterinarians debate its effectiveness. Regardless, when your dog comes in from outdoors, look him over for ticks, especially if you have been hiking in the woods. Look between toes as well as around the ears, face, mouth, tail, genitals and armpits and use a flea comb to go through his coat.

If you find a tick, remove it immediately by using tweezers to pull upward firmly until you have removed it from your dog's skin. Don't twist or pull too quickly as you might leave the head behind, which can cause disease or skin infection. Another method consists of applying liquid soap to a cotton ball and covering the tick for 15 seconds, causing the tick to release.

If you remove the tick's body without its head, use a sterile needle to remove the head like you would remove a splinter.

Lyme disease is potentially devastating if not treated, so be on alert for ticks and symptoms of Lyme disease to treat the problem as soon as it appears.