What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?

What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?

What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?

What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?

What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?


What Does Lyme Disease Do to your Pet?

Most people have heard of Lyme disease, yet a surprisingly small number of pet owners realize that their precious furbaby can be affected by the condition too. While it is not particularly common, it can be fatal to those animals that do contract the disease unless treatment is sought as soon as possible.

What is Lyme disease

Lyme disease, official name Lyme borreliosis, is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world today. This means that it is carried and spread by these small, wingless creatures that survive by drinking the blood of their host. When a tick carrying infected blood attaches to your pet it can take up to 48 hours for the disease to be transmitted to your furbaby. For this reason, the sooner you can spot a tick and remove it from your pet, the less likely he is to be affected by Lyme disease.


Lyme disease is mainly carried by the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick. This type of tick cannot fly or jump but instead wait for their next meal by positioning themselves on bushes, branches or long grass and grabbing on when your pet wanders by. Once on board, the tick will crawl to a well-hidden part of the body where blood is flowing just below the surface. After choosing it’s feeding location, it will pierce the skin and insert a microscopic feeding tube which it uses to drink your pet’s blood. At the same time, it will also release an adhesive-like substance that will both help it remain attached to your pet and cause a numbing sensation so that your pet will probably have no idea that he has been affected.


Adult deer ticks are more prevalent in the summer months, but milder autumns and winters have means that it is possible for them to remain active all year round in some states.

Signs that your pet has Lyme disease

So, what exactly does Lyme disease do to your pet? One of the most frustrating things about this condition is that animals are naturally predisposed to try and hide any vulnerabilities that they may have, including illness. The symptoms of Lyme disease can also be very subtle and easy to ignore. If your pet does become infected with Lyme disease, he will almost certainly not show any symptoms until at least two and as long as five months after being infected. Common symptoms include:


-         Reduced energy/lethargy

-         Fever

-         Loss of appetite

-         Swollen joints

-         Stiffness of joints

-         Refusal to move around


Once Lyme disease is inside your pet’s bloodstream, it has the capability of making its way around his body and causing problems to major functions and systems, including affecting his major organs. Neurological symptoms such as dizziness and confusion can occur. Symptoms can also progress to include kidney failure and heart problems, both of which can be fatal.  

Can Lyme disease be treated?

Lyme disease can be treated with a robust course of antibiotics and most animals will go into remission within just a few days. However, it is essential that your pet finishes the entire course of antibiotics. Doxycycline is the antibiotic usually prescribed, although some vets may choose to try amoxicillin or erythromycin.


It is also possible to prevent your pet from being infected with Lyme disease altogether if you choose preventative medications and examine him for ticks on a daily basis so that they can be removed quickly.




If you would like further information about the effects of Lyme disease, contact and speak to our local veterinary team.