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Lyme disease in dogs

Deer ticks and other critters

"My dog has Lyme. Could I get it from her?"

No. If you are bitten by a tick, you may get Lyme. Your dog cannot give it to you directly. However, you may both get it from the same infected tick. Being bitten by a tick that crawled onto you when you were snuggling or letting her sleep on your bed is more likely. Ticks don't jump, like fleas. They crawl.

These ticks and others can be vectors for Lyme and other bad diseases. Vector means they are animals that can carry disease to humans.

* Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
* Western Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes pacificus)
* Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
* Avian Tick (Ixodes auritulus)

Search Term: Lyme disease tick.

According to Eva Sapi, PhD, biologist and director of the Lyme research program at the University of New Haven, Connecticut, the ticks collected in the NE region of the US this year have shown a higher percentage of Lyme infection than in the past. Not only are there greater numbers of ticks than in the past, they're also more likely to be carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme bacteria.

Your dog, cat, or horse might inadvertently share a Lyme-infected tick with you. Do be careful and perform regular tick checks all over your body whenever you've spent time with them. If you rarely venture into the woods or onto the seashore without slathering your body with DEET, and make your kids stay in your own yard to play, you may not think you are putting yourself or your loved ones in harm's way. Unfortunately, it's tougher than that to steer clear of tick habitat. Lyme researchers tell me there are plenty of ticks in our own yards, not just in the wild. Where we live in North Carolina, deer regularly walk along the side fence, where they're nicely hidden by the dense woods in the lot next door. I only spot them when I'm spacing out while staring past my computer monitor, out the office windows. One time I thought I saw a whole section of tree branches move away from the tree. On closer inspection, I realized with a start that I had been looking at a beautiful buck with a giant rack. Deer are survivors. They are excellent at adapting to living in urban areas, and they are often covered in ticks.

I'd love to have a yard full of guinea fowl, who find ticks a tasty treat to eat. However, they're super noisy and I'm afraid they'd drive me and the neighbor, who is also a writer and works at home, batty with their cry.

Tell me what you do to avoid (or control) ticks?
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Lyme disease in dogs

Are you and your dog both at risk for Lyme? It's terrible to think so, yet those energizing hikes through the forest that you and your canine pal adore may be putting you at a greater risk for infection. Even if you're not a frequent hiker, you know how man's best friend loves to rummage through the bushes around the edge of the yard and snuffle through piles of leaves. Hedges and leaf piles are prime hiding spots for ticks.

Lyme is endemic in the northeastern US, and increasing incidences of the illness are being reported in northern California and the Pacific northwest. Dogs living in other parts of the country may be at less of a risk for exposure. But before you allow yourself to believe your dog is out of the woods (so to speak), bear in mind that Lyme infection has been reported in every state.

Lyme in dogs manifests differently than in humans. When bitten by an infected tick, 30 - 50% of people will develop a skin rash and flu-like symptoms. However, dogs are not likely to develop symptoms for many weeks or months. Your dog might exhibit signs of arthritis from painful joint inflammation, or he might run a fever. Your veterinarian can prescribe a course of antibiotics such as doxycycline or Amoxicillin, which many dogs respond well to. As in humans, all the bacteria may not be killed with this course. Long term or chronic Lyme may or may not be a problem for our beloved buddies.

  • According to an article by Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP Educational Director of VeterinaryPartner.com, dogs do not tend to develop neurologic or heart issues.
  • However, kidney disease may occur in response to stimulation by latent pathogens over a long period of time.

Preventing Lyme infection might be possible with the use of powerful tick repellents and collars. However, even if you use these agents you should take the time to check your dog daily for ticks whenever you think there has been exposure. There is no hard evidence to prove that a tick must be attached for 48 hours before it can spew its Lyme bacteria into the animal on which it's feeding. If the tick is disturbed while feeding, it may dump its toxins into the bloodstream of the host animal.

  • If you find a tick on your pet, grasp the tick firmly but gently with a tweezers and pull it straight out without twisting or turning it.
  • Never suffocate the tick by putting anything on it, such as Vaseline or soap. Doing so may cause it to unload its bacteria before you remove it.


The bad news is that diagnosing Lyme disease in dogs is as tricky as it is for humans. Spirochetes are notorious for being able to hide masterfully from the host's immune system. Therefore, detecting antibodies to the Lyme bacteria is nearly impossible. If you and your vet suspect that your furry buddy might have Lyme, the good news is that a 2 - 4 week course of antibiotics should bring your pet relief from symptoms quickly, within 48 hours.
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Lyme disease in the family dog

Your dog is your little buddy, your furry kid. Nothing compares to the love your puppy has for you. You want to keep him or her as healthy and happy as you can. Lyme disease in a dog can be a devastating ordeal, not just for your dog but for you and your whole family. People frequently report that their main exposure to Lyme probably occurred because the family dog inadvertently brought a tick into the house.
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