Warmer temperatures pose another parasite threat to our pets, namely, deer ticks who transmit Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease and dogs, or other pets, can be a bad situation.

Keep reading to learn more about this pet health threat, and how you can proactively protect your dog.

What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

Lyme disease is caused by a specific bacterium (called a spirochete) that is carried and transmitted through the hard-shelled Deer Tick (also known as an Eastern Black-legged Tick and the Western Black-legged Tick). While Lyme Disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases worldwide, it causes symptoms in just 5-10% of affected dogs according to Petmd.com.


Where is Lyme Disease for Dogs?

K9 Lyme Disease has been reported throughout the United States, some Canadian Provinces and Europe. But typically, it is most prevalent in the following U.S. areas:

  • Upper Midwestern States
  • Northeastern States
  • Atlantic & Pacific Coastal States

But this does not mean your dog cannot be exposed to Lyme Disease in other areas of the United States. 

Stay informed with Monthly Alerts from the PetDiseaseAlerts.org website for active pet disease outbreaks and monthly parasite forecast maps. 

Symptoms of K9 Lyme Disease

There are many symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, but the following are the most common:

  • Lameness in the legs that may shift, be periodic and/or recurring (known as “shifting-leg lameness”)
  • Joint inflammation, swelling and warm to the touch
  • Stiffness, discomfort or pain when trying to move; avoids moving
  • Arched back due to stiffness when walking
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Reduced energy, fatigue and depression
  • Swollen/enlarged lymph nodes

In severe cases, Lyme Disease can also lead to heart and kidney disease along with central nervous system issues and even arthritis.

Prevent K9 Lyme Disease Easily 

There is some “good news” when it comes to the transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease in dogs. A tick must be attached – and feeding – for 18-48 hours to transmit the infection. 

By checking your dog each time they come back into the house from the outdoors (especially if you live in an area prone to ticks), you can prevent the potential transmission of Lyme Disease by removing any ticks you find.  

Use the graphic below to thoroughly check your dog (and cat) for ticks.

You can also ask your veterinarian for a recommended tick preventive or find a natural pest-control/repellant option. 

Dog Lyme Disease Treatment

Successful treatment of K9 Lyme Disease depends upon early detection and treatment. Fortunately, Lyme Disease is much easier to treat in dogs than in humans. If you observe any of the symptoms listed above (particularly lameness, loss of appetite or changes in normal behavior), consult your veterinarian for potential testing, diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics. 

K9 Lyme Vaccine

There is a vaccine for Lyme Disease for canines (considered a “noncore” or “lifestyle” vaccine), but not every dog is a good candidate. Work with your regular veterinarian to decide if the vaccine is appropriate for your dog, their lifestyle and health history relative to the potential side effects. 

Final Note: Lyme Disease and Cats

While this post focused on dogs and Lyme Disease, it is important to understand that our felines can also be infected with Lyme Disease with many of the same symptoms. 

Lyme Disease is much rarer in cats than it is in dogs and humans and can be harder to detect because a cat’s immune system tolerates the disease-causing bacteria very differently. It is actually possible for infected felines to carry the bacteria forever without developing Lyme Disease symptoms. 



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Check out our Pet Care Services for your beloved pet and then reach out to us via email or by calling 530-219-3656 today.