Lyme disease is a prevalent concern for both humans and pets, particularly here in the northeastern United States where one in twelve dogs tests positive for Lyme. With our abundance of wooded areas and high population of deer, northern NJ presents an optimal environment for the transmission of Lyme disease through tick bites. While many pet owners are aware of the risks posed by ticks, understanding the nuances of Lyme disease in pets is crucial for early detection and effective treatment.  

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete (type of bacterium), Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to dogs through the bite of an infected tick. Once the tick is attached, the bacterium travels to other parts of your pet’s body. Left untreated, Lyme disease can be fatal.  

Early detection and treatment of Lyme disease in pets are paramount to mitigating its potential long-term effects. Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments can be transmitted with just 24 to 48 hours of the tick’s attachment to your pet. However, the symptoms of Lyme disease can take weeks or even months to show up. Unlike humans, pets cannot communicate their symptoms verbally, making it essential for pet owners to be vigilant in observing any changes in their pet's behavior or health. Prompt detection allows for timely intervention, which can prevent the progression of the disease and minimize its impact on the pet's overall well-being.  

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Pets  

Recognizing the symptoms of Lyme disease in pets is essential for early intervention to prevent additional complications. While the signs may vary among individual animals, common symptoms to look out for include:  

  • Lameness: Pets affected by Lyme disease may experience lameness, which can manifest as limping or reluctance to bear weight on certain limbs. This lameness may shift from one leg to another and often occurs intermittently.
  • Joint Pain: Lyme disease can cause inflammation in the joints, leading to stiffness, discomfort, and pain. Pets may exhibit signs of joint pain, such as reluctance to move, difficulty rising, or vocalization when touched in certain areas.
  • Fever: An unexplained fever is another common symptom of Lyme disease in pets. Monitoring your pet's body temperature and noting any fluctuations can provide valuable information to veterinarians during diagnosis and treatment. Lethargy, shivering, red eyes or gums, and loss of appetite are often indicators of fever.
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes: In some cases, pets with Lyme disease may develop swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, particularly in areas closest to the site of the tick bite.

By staying informed about the prevalence of Lyme disease, recognizing the importance of early detection and treatment, and becoming familiar with the symptoms indicative of the disease, pet owners can take proactive steps to protect their pets' health and well-being. Regular tick checks, preventive measures such as tick repellents, and timely veterinary care are essential components of a comprehensive approach to mitigating the risks associated with Lyme disease in pets. Effective, non-toxic pest repellents, such as our own Pet Peeve Plus, can help repel ticks and other pests safely.  

Testing your pet for Lyme disease early can guide your veterinarian to start appropriate care. Our Accuplex4 test will detect not only Lyme, but also anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and heartworm. It is an affordable test and in honor of Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month (April), we are offering this test for 10% off all month long. In addition, we are offering 10% off our preventative spray, Pet Peeve Plus, which uses effective essential oils to protect your pet. Please contact our office at (973) 606-1101 to schedule an appointment or to purchase our veterinary products.