Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world but only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. It is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group. Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in dogs, is transmitted by slow-feeding, hard-shelled deer ticks (Ixodes spp.). Infection typically occurs after the Borrelia carrying tick has been attached to the dog for at least 2-3 days. Dogs are 50% more likely than humans to get Lyme Disease. Your dog tested positive. Here’s what you need to know

Your dog was bitten by a deer tick that carried the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. This dangerous infection may cause the following:

  • Lameness
  • Swollen joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

***Some dogs often display no apparent signs of Lyme disease, so it’s essential to determine the level of infection. We can measure a specific antibody called “C 6 ” in your dog’s blood to help determine whether treatment is required.***

Treatment Recommendation

If the antibody level is low, the veterinarian may decide that your dog doesn’t need immediate treatment and will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your dog to make sure he or she stays healthy. If the antibody level is moderate to high, the veterinarian will begin antibiotic treatment immediately. There are several useful antibiotics available. It’s essential to follow the instructions and give your pet the full course of treatment. If surgery is required, a follow-up C6 antibody test is repeated in 6 months to ensure treatment was successful.

Can I get Lyme Disease from my dog?

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products.

Written by Diane Skillen, Practice Manager

For more information on Lyme Disease and the Manitoba Blacklegged tick surveillance program, please click here.