Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Lyme disease affects humans, horse and dogs, but is rarely seen in cats. Opinions vary regarding symptoms, diagnosis, vaccination controversies and treatment options. Lyme disease is caused by an organism known as a spirochaete and named Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted by tick bites. It has been found worldwide. Lyme is a debilitating disease.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The main clinical signs include a sudden yet recurring lameness that may shift from leg to leg. Sometimes this lameness is associated with a fever and lethargy and/or depression. Occasionally, lymph nodes might be swollen. Sometimes the joints may be swollen, warm and painful and they usually walk stiffly with a hunched back.

Animals with Lyme disease really look painful and stiff and commonly are very sensitive to touch and may cry out with even the slightest touch. If caught early and treated with antibiotics, a dog can improve within the first few days of treatment. During the antibiotics treatment time, massage is contraindicated. The laying of hands and the relaxation routine can be considered to sooth and relaxed that animal. Stretching would probably be too painful to perform.  Hydrotherapy modalities are not recommended at this time. Simply keep your dog hydrated and warm with a blanket. Once the antibiotics treatment is completed, and with the agreement of the veterinarian, you can resume regular massages, stretching exercises and hydrotherapy modalities.

Lyme is a serious disease because if a dog is not treated immediately, the disease can spread to the heart, kidneys and the entire nervous system. Research has shown that the organism has been found in connective tissue, in joints, muscles and lymph nodes. It is one tough bug!

Diagnostic & Treatment

The Lyme titer is a special blood test used to diagnose against that disease. There are two types: the Elisa test and the western blot test, the latest being much more accurate however takes a little longer to run. Once diagnosed, it is recommended to treat the animal aggressively with antibiotics. Even if you like to be as natural, as holistic as possible, this is one time when antibiotics are needed fast!

Keep in mind that, when considering Lyme disease as a possibility, one must also think about other tick-transmitted diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or canine erlichiosis. Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, other joint diseases as well as kidney failure or heart problems from other causes need to be considered as well.

Besides the needed antibiotics it is recommended to include some nutritional and herbal supplements to support and boost the immune system as well. Consult your veterinarian for best recommendation. A lot of dogs respond well to acupuncture treatment to boost the immune system and relieve the pain and inflammation. Be sure to contact a licensed veterinarian acupuncturist for best course of treatment. Homeopathy has some helpful remedies. For best results you should contact a homeopathic veterinarian.

Preventive Lyme vaccines are the source of great debate due to their potential side effects. These side effects may vary from rheumatoid arthritis and all the major symptoms of Lyme disease to acute kidney failure.

How to Prevent it

The best prevention still is:

  • Check your dog carefully daily.
  • Remove any ticks.
  • Use tick repellant collars.
  • Use topical insecticides, especially during spring and fall.
  • Keep your pets away from tick infested areas

If you suspect your dog as any of the symptoms listed in this article, consult your veterinarian. He will advise you on the best course of action for the wellness of your dog.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.  My goal is help you provide quality home care for the benefit of your animal.

Please visit our FREE library. Our many articles address important aspects of animal wellness and fitness. Take the time to scroll through our free library to find out how you can actively contribute to your dog’s wellness.

Animal Massage Awareness also offers a large video library with over a 100 mini-videos that will show you how to easily perform the various massage and stretching techniques talked about in this article. These videos offer you the correct start and visual guidance. With this knowledge, you will be able to develop a good home care program for the benefit of your animal friend.  He will love you for it.

Enjoy your new Awareness!

Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, MT

Recommended DVD Downloads

A regular application of the “Relaxation Massage Routine” (CV004) allows you relax and comfort your pet companion and therefore becomes a great preventive measure. Also, the use of “The Laying-of-Hands” (CV003) will maximize the benefit of your home care program.

Learn More About Animal Massage in Our Comprehensive Courses

Ready to learn to improve how you care for your animal? Our complete courses offer a wealth of information in easy-to-follow video format.

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