Five signs of Lyme disease
Lyme disease has been found in every state, and dogs are a prime target
Ticks are small bugs that can cause big problems for people and pets – including transmitting Lyme disease.
At least four known species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease, but most Lyme disease transmissions are caused by the bite of a small tick called the deer tick or black-legged tick.1 A bite from an infected tick transmits illness-causing bacteria to the victim’s bloodstream, causing health problems.1
Lyme disease has been found in every state in the U.S.2, and dogs, with their love of the outdoors, are a prime target. Once a tick attaches to a pet, it takes one to two days for it to transmit the Lyme-causing bacteria, so it’s important to check for ticks often and remove them promptly, and to protect your dog with regular, year-round use of tick-control products.1
However, it’s still a good idea for dog owners to be aware of possible symptoms. It’s tricky – the signs of Lyme can vary, and some dogs may show no signs at all. But these are the most common issues.1
Be on the lookout for these five signs1
- Loss of appetite. Is your dog leaving food in the bowl or not eating at all? That’s a red flag.
- Change in mood. Does your normally peppy pooch seem down in the dumps? Lethargy, depression, and reduced energy are warning signs.
- Difficulty walking. Lyme can cause swelling of the joints, which could lead to stiffness, a change in gait, lameness, discomfort or pain. These symptoms may wax and wane.
- Fever. Normally a dog’s temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5° Fahrenheit.3 When it rises above that range, your dog has a fever.
- Swollen lymph nodes. Enlarged glands near the neck or legs can indicate disease.
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these signs, call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may perform a blood test that confirms an active Lyme disease infection to support the diagnosis (antibody test may not always be confirmatory) for four to six weeks after the initial infection.1
Be especially vigilant if the signs appear after you’ve found a tick – particularly an engorged tick (and if you find a tick, remove it immediately by following these tick-removal steps).
The good news
Prompt treatment, usually a round of antibiotics for about four weeks, can make your dog feel better quickly. More serious cases, where the infection persists or is chronic, often require additional, ongoing treatment.1
Do cats get Lyme disease?
Dogs are more likely than cats to get Lyme disease because dogs are more likely to spend time in grassy or wooded areas where ticks like to hide. Still, it’s possible for cats to contract Lyme disease and show symptoms similar to dogs – or, unfortunately, to show no symptoms at all.4
Protect your pets
The best way to protect your dog (or cat) from tick-borne diseases is to use proactive flea and tick protection. Keep your pets clear of tall grasses and areas of tick infestation. Protect your dog from ticks for up to 12 weeks* with Bravecto (fluralaner) Chews or Bravecto (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs, nearly three times longer than any other chew. For cats, get tick protection from BRAVECTO®(fluralaner topical solution) for Cats or Bravecto Plus (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) for Cats, which also prevents heartworm disease.
Dogs can also be vaccinated against Lyme disease, and it’s important to discuss this with your veterinarian, including the Nobivac team. They can provide guidance on the best types of protection for your pet. Remember to ask your veterinarian about Nobivac and how it can benefit your dog or cat.
If my pet gets Lyme disease, will I catch it?
You can’t catch Lyme disease directly from your infected dog or cat. However, just like dogs and cats, humans can contract Lyme disease from ticks.6 So stay on the lookout for these problematic pests to keep yourself and your pets safe.
- Lyme Disease (Lyme Borreliosis) in Dogs. MerckVetManual.com. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/disorders-affecting-multiple-body-systems-of-dogs/lyme-disease-lyme-borreliosis-in-dogs
- Parasite Prevalence. CAPCVet.org. https://capcvet.org/maps/#/2023/all-year/lyme-disease/dog/united-states
- Taking Your Pet’s Temperature. VCAHospitals.com. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/taking-your-pets-temperature
- Lyme Disease (Lyme Borreliosis) in Cats. MerckVetManual.com. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/disorders-affecting-multiple-body-systems-of-cats/lyme-disease-lyme-borreliosis-in-cats
- BRAVECTO® prescribing information
- Lyme Borreliosis in Animals. MerckVetManual.com. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/veterinary/generalized-conditions/lyme-borreliosis/lyme-borreliosis-in-animals
*BRAVECTO kills fleas, prevents flea infestations. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews for Dogs kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, brown dog tick, and Asian longhorned tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Chews also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Dogs also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats kills ticks (black-legged tick and Asian longhorned tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Topical Solution for Cats also kills American dog ticks for 8 weeks.
Important Safety Information
BRAVECTO 1-MONTH (fluralaner) Chews: indicated for dogs 8 weeks of age and older. The most commonly reported adverse reactions include itching, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, elevated ALT, lethargy, and weight loss. BRAVECTO 1-MONTH (fluralaner) Chews is not effective against A. americanum in puppies less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, anorexia and pruritus. In some cases, adverse events have been reported following use in breeding females. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, and moist dermatitis/rash. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, hair loss, decreased appetite, lethargy, and scabs/ulcerated lesions. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats is not effective against American dog ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing. BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) for Cats: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, hair loss, itching, diarrhea, lethargy, dry skin, elevated ALT, and hypersalivation. BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) has not been shown to be effective for 2 months in kittens less than 6 months of age. Use with caution in cats that are heartworm positive. The effectiveness of BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) to prevent heartworm disease after bathing or water immersion has not been evaluated.
BRAVECTO (fluralaner) has not been shown to be effective for 12-weeks’ duration in puppies or kittens less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews and Topical Solution for dogs is not effective against the lone star tick beyond 8 weeks of dosing. BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Dogs and Cats and BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) for cats are for topical use only. Avoid oral ingestion. The safety of BRAVECTO (fluralaner topical solution) for Cats and BRAVECTO PLUS (fluralaner and moxidectin topical solution) has not been established in breeding, pregnant, and lactating cats.
All BRAVECTO (fluralaner) products contain fluralaner, which is a member of the isoxazoline class. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. Neurologic adverse reactions have been reported in cats receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in cats without a history of neurologic disorders. Use with caution in cats with a history of neurologic disorders.
Want to share this article?
More like this
- Caring for a senior petCaring for a senior pet Cats and dogs may need … Read more
- Dealing with your pet’s allergiesDealing with your pet’s allergies Just like humans, pets can … Read more
- Five things you may not know about leptospriosisFive things you may not know about leptospirosis Leptospirosis is … Read more