Veterinarians are known to not use any antibiotics for Lyme disease in dogs if there are no clinical symptoms but only a positive blood test. Your vet will discuss these options with you. If your dog is showing symptoms, the usual course of doxycycline or other antibiotic is prescribed for about 4 weeks. If symptoms return, an additional course may be needed.
Ticks carry some serious but less common bacterial diseases affecting dogs such as Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis.
Additionally, there may be rare and serious side effects such as irregularity of heart beat, change in the bark, excess salivation, kidney problems or nervous system issues.
The unfortunate part about diagnosis of Lyme disease is that it often goes unnoticed for months. Also, the symptoms tend to resemble many other diseases-so the diagnosis could come months later. There are a few blood tests to diagnose Lyme’s but most vets do not carry them out early enough.
A color coded map searchable by zip code showing the prevalence of Lyme disease in any U.S. area can be viewed at:
There are several subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi in different parts of the world so “Lyme disease” is not unique to the United States.
Lyme disease’s primary carrier is the Ixodes tick (Ixodes scapularis), also known as the black-legged tick, “beer tick” or “deer tick.”
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
The rash will subside once the vet prescribes antibiotics like doxycycline. If the rash gets worse or if the pet doesn’t respond to the medication, you must get medical help to safeguard your dog’s life.
While tick bites are the cause of Lyme disease, the development of symptoms takes place much later than the initial bite. Your dog may not show symptoms of Lyme disease until two to five months after being infected. The signs of Lyme disease in dogs can also bear similarities to the symptoms of other health conditions. For this reason, it’s crucial that dog owners seek out a veterinary diagnosis if they suspect their pet has canine Lyme disease.
Before attempting to treat the rash, the vet will first find out if it’s really associated with Lyme disease or not. If the pet is suffering from Lyme disease, the vet will prescribe certain antibiotics that contain penicillin to bring relief from the symptoms exhibited. Lyme disease cannot be treated in a few days. The dog will require a course of antibiotics and follow up vet checks. The vet will then adjust the medication as and when required.
Golden and Labrador retrievers seem to be more prone to developing Lyme nephritis, so dogs of this breed or mixed with this breed should be given extra attention if they contract Lyme disease.
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
Treatment of Lyme disease utilizes a 2-4 week course of doxycycline, or its cousin minocycline. Amoxicillin can also be used as an effective alternative. If Lyme disease is a consideration, many veterinarians simply prescribe the medication. Obvious improvement is seen within 48 hours. Further, most tick-borne infections capable of causing joint pain, fever, and signs similar to Lyme disease generally all share doxycycline responsiveness so a simple course of medication actually covers several types of infection.
Furthermore, between 4% and 8% of Lyme disease rashes present with a central blistering. These cases can be misdiagnosed as shingles, a viral infection that causes blistering and is treated with anti-viral medications. Shingles treatment is not effective in treating Lyme disease.
Its appearance may also depend on your skin tone, Andrea Swei, PhD, an associate professor specializing in tick-borne diseases at San Francisco State University, tells Health. In fact, some research suggests that Lyme rashes may not always be obvious in darker-skinned individuals, which can lead to disparities in diagnosis and treatment.
The Dog Health Guide is not intended to replace the advice of a Veterinarian or other Health Professional. This site accepts advertising and other forms of compensation for products mentioned. Such compensation does not influence the information or recommendations made. We always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences.