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Common Symptoms of Pet Lyme Disease and How to Treat It

Updated: Mar 25

a tic on the dog’s fur

Did you know ticks can survive the winter by hiding under leaves and brush? In fact, ticks are active anytime the temperature is 4 degrees Celsius or above.

Ticks can latch onto your pets. In recent years, the risk of Lyme disease is increasing. Knowing tick bite symptoms in dogs can help you monitor your pup.

Keep reading to learn more about pet Lyme disease and what to look for.

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness. It's caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Ticks carrying the bacteria can transmit it to dogs and cats through bites. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to serious health issues for your furry friend.

What Are the Signs of Lyme Disease?

How do you know if your pet has Lyme disease? Look out for signs like:

  • Lethargy

  • Lameness

  • Swollen joints

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

When Should You Bring Your Dog in for Treatment?

If you notice any of the signs, it's crucial to bring your dog in for treatment as soon as possible.

Don't wait until the symptoms worsen or become unbearable for your furry friend. Remember, early intervention is key when it comes to Lyme disease.

How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Lyme disease in pets can be tricky to diagnose, but there are a few methods that veterinarians use. Your vet will give your pup a general exam and run some tests.

Blood tests can detect the presence of antibodies, while a urinalysis may reveal any kidney damage caused by the infection. These diagnostic tools help vets confirm if your furry friend has Lyme disease and determine the best course of treatment.

How to Treat Pet Lyme Disease

Treating pet Lyme disease requires a multi-faceted approach. First, your veterinarian will likely prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. Some severely affected dogs may require hospitalization with IV fluids

Additionally, they may recommend supportive care such as pain medication and joint supplements. It's crucial to follow your vet's instructions carefully and complete the entire course of treatment.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease

Since it takes 24 hours or more for the tick to transmit the bacteria through the mouth parts repelling the ticks removing them or killing them prevents the transmission of lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

There are topical products that repell and kill the ticks but care must be used around your pet in the household. There are a number of oral products that include flea control heartworm prevention and internal parasite control as well.


An effective method for preventing Lyme disease is vaccination. By ensuring that your furry friend receives the necessary shots, you can significantly reduce their risk of contracting this illness.

Stay Out of the Bush

Ticks thrive in dense vegetation and wooded areas, making them more likely to latch onto your furry friend.

Stick to open spaces and paths when walking or playing with your pet. It's a small change that can make a big difference.

Remove Ticks Immediately

Always check your pet for ticks after being outdoors. These parasites can latch onto their fur and skin within hours; prompt removal is essential. It is a good idea to check yourself too!

Watch the bite area for signs of inflammation or irritation. Surprisingly only about 6% of dogs exposed to lyme will come down with the disease so antibiotics are not routinely prescribed unless the dog has symptoms. An antibody blood test is recommended 4-6 weeks post tick bite to check for antibodies to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. A urine test may be indicated as well if the antibody test is positive.

Contact Kato Animal Hospital in Toronto

Knowing tick bite symptoms can help you react quickly. Seek prompt attention from a vet if your pet exhibits any signs of Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses.

At Kato Animal Hospital, we've been working tirelessly to ensure the health of your pets in Toronto for the last 40 years. We provide a full range of professional care, including vaccination services.

Give your pet the care they need. Schedule an appointment today.


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