Ticks are one of the most common pests that transmit diseases to dogs around the U.S.  They can transmit a number of infections, Lyme disease being the most common.  When a dog is infected, their joints become inflamed due to bacteria leading to several other symptoms.  Any dog can be affected by Lyme disease; however, it is more prevalent in young dogs. 

Lyme disease in dogs can cause some serious complications if it isn’t treated.  The kidneys, heart or nervous system could become damaged.  Certain breeds are more susceptible to complications, for example, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain dogs are likely to develop kidney disease.  Kidney disease leads to kidney failure which is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss and increased urination and thirst. 

Infection with Lyme disease usually occurs after the tick has been attached to the dog for at least 18 hours.  After that, the symptoms start setting in. 

Symptoms of the Lyme disease in dogs include:

•    Recurrent lameness of the limbs or acute lameness
•    Sensitive to touch
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Stiff walk with an arched back
•    Fever, appetite loss and depression

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it is important to take them to the veterinarian.  A number of blood tests and a urinalysis will be taken.  These are used by the vet to assess if bacteria, parasites and fungi are present in the bloodstream.  The vet can also draw fluid from affected joints to assess the disease.

After a dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, they must have their physical activity controlled so their joints can heal to the best of their ability; your dog will most likely be given an antibiotic to take for four weeks. Unfortunately, some dogs have joint problems for the rest of their lives after being infected by Lyme disease which is why it is important to prevent or detect it as soon as possible.

Prevention of Lyme disease isn’t always easy; however, you can try your hardest by:

•    Not allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested environments which include moist and humid areas and areas with much vegetation.
•    Groom your dog and check for ticks daily. 
•    There are a variety of sprays, collar and other products that help to kill and repel ticks.  Most of these can be found in stores but you should always talk to a veterinarian before trying a product on your pet. 

It’s hard to keep your dog out of areas where ticks are found, especially in the summer months. However, take the above precautions, especially the daily check for ticks, and you can help keep your dog free of Lyme disease. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, get to the vet right away so treatment can be started as soon as possible to prevent complications.

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Natural Flea and Tick Repellent