Ticks are commonly found in dogs and their bite can transmit Lyme disease in your pet. The organism related to the disease is then transmitted to different parts of the body with a very high chance of getting localized in the joints. In the past there was a misconception that the condition spread through a few species of ticks. But scientists have come to the conclusion that it could spread through various commonly found species.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms of Lyme disease
The symptoms of Lyme disease are usually more complex to be detected in animals than in human beings. While there is a typical rash in humans, there is no such sign in dogs. The symptoms can go unidentified or delayed in dogs, or they may be similar to the signs for other diseases. In fact, the disease may not be recognized until other conditions have been removed from the list of causes.
Many dog owners will take their pet, suffering from Lyme disease, to a vet as they suffer from general pain and stop eating food. Often the pets are described to be walking as if they are “walking on eggshells.” The dog can start limping without any warning. Often it may turn into a kind of lameness that keeps shifting between legs. It may even disappear but return again after a few months. The pet may also suffer from high fever.
Many pets get infected by the disease for more than a year before any symptoms are shown. In such cases, the condition could have spread throughout the dog’s body.
Signs of Irregular Arthritis
Arthritis usually remains local to a joint it affects. The lameness caused by Lyme disease will usually shift between the legs. The joints become swollen and hot, and cause pain. Even the lymphatic nodes under the legs may swell.
Lymph Node Enlargement
The symptoms are commonly seen in the front leg, in which case the lymphatic nodes on the shoulder above the leg get enlarged. The dog may also show signs of depression. The pet will show signs of pain when you press the joints and may also be unwilling to walk. Even when they walk, there is stiffness to the gait and the back is arched due to the pain.
If the pet has been suffering from Lyme disease for long, it could cause chronic inflammation in organs like kidneys, nervous system, and heart. Many dogs suffering from the condition may continue living without the Lyme organism affecting their kidneys, but in some cases the condition may affect the organs.
The organism has unique proteins causing your dog’s immune system to release antibodies in large volumes. The antibodies may not be highly effective in fighting the organisms (Borrelia), but they get filtered by the kidneys. Gradually, they can cause damaging effects in the form of immune complex glomerulonephritis. Over time, this could result in adversely affecting the power of the kidneys in cleansing the blood.
The Lyme organism is a bacterium, and therefore, it can be controlled through the use of antibiotics. You should also protect your pet from getting exposed to the harmful ticks, which are found in sands, woods, and grasses. Ticks can live in different types of environments until they detect an animal. So prevent your pet from heading into thick vegetation or altogether limiting its movement to within the home.