Lyme disease is a serious bacterial infection. If your dog has Lyme disease, you may notice they become depressed and lose their appetite. Other symptoms include:
- swollen and painful joints
- swollen lymph nodes
If you think your pet has Lyme disease, contact your vet. They can perform tests and start treatment with antibiotics.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia) that attacks tissues around the body, most commonly the joints, but also organs such as the kidneys. It is transmitted to dogs (and humans) through ticks. Ticks are most active from March to October and may remain active during mild winters. They are found in woodland areas, moorland, rough pasture and urban parks and gardens.
Lyme disease is endemic throughout the UK particularly in the Highlands of Scotland and southern England. Only about six per cent of UK ticks carry Lyme disease but one bite from an infected tick can transmit the bacteria.
Ticks are a common parasite that dogs pick up and they usually stay on the animal for 10 or 11 days. Once they have stopped feeding after that period of time they will then drop off. The tick can transmit the disease whilst attached to your pet, so if you see a tick you need to remove it safely.
Should you be unfortunate enough to find a tick on yourself, please check your dog for ticks. If you have been to an area where ticks are commonly found you should also check your dog. It is always worth re-checking the following day as ticks do get bigger the longer they are attached to their host!
Further details on tick removal can be found here.