With this disease becoming even more prevalent in our area, it’s important to know what to look for if your dog’s behavior or activity level changes at all. All dogs in the ti-state area are at risk, a we’re in one of the two locations of the country where it is considered endemic. This makes it even more critical that in addition to knowing the facts (check out our earlier blog, Lyme Disease in Dogs: What You Need to Know Now for great info), you need to know the symptoms of Lyme disease and take action if you suspect your dog may have been exposed.

New Jersey is among the highest risk areas in the nation for Lyme disease in dogs.

New Jersey is among the highest risk areas in the nation for Lyme disease in dogs.

Unlike with some other canine diseases, Lyme disease does not discriminate – all breeds and sizes and levels of activity dogs are at risk. You also don’t need to ever see the tick on your dog, for your dog to have been bitten and exposed to Lyme disease. In addition, nearly every dog is at risk of being exposed, with almost 75% of unvaccinated dogs in endemic areas eventually testing positive, with some of those going on to develop the disease. Here are some great facts from LymeInfo.org’s website about risk factors to consider:

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Now to Know the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

So what are the most common symptoms? Traveling lameness – where a dog limps or is sore intermittently on various legs, not always the same one – is one of the tell tale signs that your dog may be affected. This can also be referred to as transient arthritis. The dog’s joints can actually become swollen, hot or painful to the touch, and in some cases they may run a slight fever or show a lack of interest in food.

In other cases, the dog’s lymph nodes around their body may be swollen, they may become lethargic or depressed, or they may also become more easily agitated. Some easy-going dogs may start to appear grumpy or snippy without apparent reason – this is another strong sign that your dog may have Lyme disease. In rare cases, the disease can progress to the point of attacking the dog’s liver and kidneys, which can be fatal. This is why it is so important to be aware of your dog’s behavior and get them tested for Lyme if you suspect they may have been exposed.

Treatment for Lyme disease in dogs is much more likely to be successful when the disease has been caught early on, so if you thing your dog may have Lyme’s, schedule your appointment today. The good news is that a simple snap test by IDEXX tests for multiple kinds of tick borne diseases and tests for heart worm disease as well. And the best part – it’s incredibly affordable and can be done right in the office so you have an answer in about 10 – 15 minutes. In the event your dog does test positive, your vet can work with you on determining the treatment that is right for you and your dog.

Have questions? Have you had a dog with Lyme disease? Share your story in the comments below.