Treating Dogs' Lyme Disease with Amoxicillin

In dogs Lyme disease is a tick-borne condition that will require treatment. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, swollen joints, lameness, enlarged lymph nodes, nausea, loss of appetite and lack of energy. Amoxicillin is a treatment option for Lyme disease in dogs, and is explained in detail below.

What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic used for the treatment for bacterial infection in dogs. The antibiotic works by stopping bacteria from developing the proteins that cause it to multiply, which causes the bacteria to eventually die within a couple of days. After a few days, the amoxicillin will destroy the infection.

Other Names for Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is available in an array of different brand names, including Trimox, Biomox, Amoxil and Robamox-BV. Amoxicillin is available in oral drops or tablet form.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of Amoxicillin

In general, amoxicillin is a very safe and effective antibiotic for the treatment of Lyme disease in dogs. Side effects that do occur are usually not serious, and very rarely life-threatening.

An allergic reaction may occur in a canine that has an allergy to the antibiotic. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs include the following:

  • Skin rashes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Elevated eosinophil blood cell count
  • Lowered neutrophil levels in blood cell count
  • Lowered agranulocyte levels in blood cell count
  • Low platelet count
  • Anemia
  • Leukopenia
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Increased heart rate

Amoxicillin may cause stomach upset in dogs, such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Giving the antibiotic with food may reduce the risk of gastrointestinal upset,  but it is not required. On occasion, the antibiotic may cause elevated liver enzymes. Very rarely, amoxicillin may cause neurotoxicity after prolonged use or very high doses.

Amoxicillin should not be used with other bacteriostatic antibiotics, including erythromycin, sulfonamides and tetracyclines. Using these medications together can cause dangerous interactions.

Dosing and Amoxicillin

Usually the antibiotic is to be administered twice a day. Clavamox, an antibiotic that contains amoxicillin, will only need to be given once a day. The amount and times the amoxicillin should be given will depend on the dog's weight, age, and size. Pet owners should always follow the instructions of a veterinarian when giving a pet medications and antibiotics.

Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

The best way to eliminate the risk of Lyme disease in your dog is to eliminate ticks from your pet and his habitat. Lyme disease is caused by ticks, and if your dog does not come into contact with tick-infested areas, he will not become infected with Lyme disease. Ways to eliminate the risk of ticks include the following:

  • Keep grass mowed and trees trimmed
  • Fence off your yard to prevent wildlife from dropping ticks on your territory
  • Apply an anti-tick spray insecticide in your yard
  • Apply tick and flea control products on your pet
  • Regularly check your pet for ticks, and remove them when seen