What you need to know about Lyme disease and dogs?
Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks commonly found in the UK.
Lyme disease (sometimes called Borreliosis) is spread by ticks and can affect both people and dogs. The Ixodes tick species commonly found in the UK transmits the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that cause Lyme disease. Not every tick will be infected with Borrelia but it has been estimated that one in every three ticks* carries some kind of infectious disease that can affect dogs.
Early symptoms in people are flu-like and often include a red ‘bull's-eye’ rash. In dogs, Lyme disease doesn’t tend to result in a bulls-eye rash and it’s much more likely to cause fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, swollen joints and lameness. The condition can be difficult to diagnose. This is partly because the signs of Lyme disease in dogs are not always obvious soon after infection and the intensity can fluctuate for months. The effects can be very long lasting though and complications such as kidney disease can occur.
Tests for Lyme disease in dogs don’t always provide absolute answers. Dogs can produce antibodies against Borrelia but this just indicates that the dog has had contact with the bacteria, not that it has active disease. Usually vets have to use a combination of tests and looking for disease signs to make a diagnosis. If you are concerned about your pet’s health for any reason it is always best to seek the advice of a veterinary surgeon.
Year round tick protection using a product like FRONTLINE® Spot On or Plus will control the ticks on your pet and regular inspection and removal of live ticks not yet dead, or dead ticks that have not dropped off, is advisable.