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Arthritis Symptoms In Your Dog | Lyme Disease can Mimic them


Lyme Disease can Mimic Arthritis Symptoms In Your Dog

Lyme disease may mimic arthritis, and can even result in arthritis, if it is left untreated in your dog.  Lyme disease is caused by ticks that have been infected with the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacterium.  The name “Lyme” actually comes from the first diagnosed case in a human in the U.S. in Lyme, Conneticut in 1975.  There was an outbreak of Rheumatoid Arthritis in that area, and the tick bite was discovered to be the culprit.  Lyme disease in dogs was not recognized until 1984.  As the tick attaches to your dog (or humans, cats, and horses), it latches on and begins to feed.  If the tick is promptly removed, your dog should not experience any infections or adverse side effects.  The tick needs to feed on your dog for 24-48 hours in order to pass the bacteria on to him.  This is why it is critical to check your pets regularly, especially if they have spent time in wooded areas.  All 50 States have documented cases of Lyme disease, but some areas are more predominant than others.  The eastern coastal states and the upper mid west states have higher occurrences of infection and an increased tick population.  To remove a tick you should use tweezers to pull the tick off at the precise point in which it is attached.  If you are uncomfortable performing this task or if your dog will not sit still, take your dog to a trained professional right away.   

The first signs of Lyme disease that you may notice in your dog are swollen joints, fever, and lameness.  They may also abstain from food and water and may be dehydrated.  Your veterinarian will likely need to perform a blood test to determine if your dog has been infected with the disease.  On occasion blood results will give false readings and medication will be administered as a precautionary method.  If your dog responds to the medication, then Lyme disease has been passed on to your dog and he should continue to do well on the treatment.  If your dog does not respond to the medication, it is likely that he doesn’t have the disease and further medical testing will help the doctor diagnose him correctly.  Dogs do not get the recognized “target” or “bull’s eye” rash that their human friends experience.  If the infection persists for a prolonged period of time, with no medical treatment, he may experience renal failure -or even death. 

Some dogs that have become infected with Lyme disease, and treated, will still develop arthritis.  Your veterinarian will guide you on a good course of action for your pet.  Your dog may need to take a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement, such as Synflex®, to help repair any damage to the health of the joints.  The supplements will help stabilize and maintain healthy cartilage.  Most dogs fully recover from the disease but a proactive approach is necessary.  It is recommended that all pet parents provide their dog with tick and flea protection, as well as heartworm protection.  There is a Lyme disease vaccination available; however some veterinarians do

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