(PET CARE/DOG HEALTH) Are you having an active spring with your pup? While the spring weather is beautiful for long walks on the beach or in the park, it’s important to remember to keep your dog free of ticks. Read on to learn about the symptoms of Lyme disease and how to keep your dog healthy and tick-free. — Global Animal

(Dog)spired

Along with flowers and sunshine, Springtime also means tick season! Ticks can cause a variety of illnesses for your dog, and they can be difficult to find and remove. One of the most dangerous illnesses ticks can carry is called Lyme disease. Dog Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdoferi. When certain types of ticks bite your dog, this bacterium is passed through to the bloodstream from their saliva. The most common type of tick known to carry the Lyme disease causing bacteria is called the deer tick, which are very common in North America.

Because these ticks are so small, they often go unnoticed. It is important to understand where your dog may contract ticks from in order to inspect him and reduce the risk of Lyme disease. Deer ticks can be found any time of the year, but are most common in the spring and summer months, from about April to September. They thrive in dry and moist areas and prefer tall grass or large piles of wood.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs

Foul breath – If you suspect your dog may have contracted Lyme disease, check his breath. It is known that many dogs who have Lyme disease have foul breath that is similar to the scent of ammonia. This is one of the most telltale symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs.

Fever – Dogs with Lyme disease are often reported to have flu like symptoms. This means you should check for a fever. This means he may be shivering, be warm to the touch on his head and belly, and may be panting. Usually fevers are not serious in dogs, but when dealing with a possible case of Lyme disease in dogs, it is important to get to the veterinarian right away.

Lack of energy – If your dog has Lyme disease, you will be able to tell by his behavior. Some symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs may be a lack of appetite, no desire to play or exercise, sleeping often and even depression. A dog who is sleeping too often is not usually feeling well, and this may be a sign of Lyme disease if he was recently bit by a tick.

Swollen lymph nodes – Lymph nodes work in the body by trapping foreign materials in our bodies, and in our dog’s bodies as well. Lymph nodes play an important roll in fighting infection in your dog’s bodies, and if they are swollen, it could be a symptom of Lyme disease. Check his neck and in his armpits for swollen glands.

Joint stiffness and limping – Lyme disease usually affects the joints and muscles. If your dog has Lyme disease, he may appear to be very stiff when walking, climbing up stairs or jumping up on couches. As joint pain and swelling increases, he will likely begin to limp as well. Limb lameness usually switches from leg to leg throughout the day as well. They may yelp when touched. Keep an eye out for an arched back when walking as well.

Some more serious lyme disease symptoms in dogs include the following:

Kidney disease – Kidney disease is very common when Lyme disease goes untreated for too long. Excess vomiting, weight loss, increased urination and increased water consumption are all signs that your dog could have developed kidney problems from Lyme disease. Kidney disease may lead to death if it continues to go untreated.

Heart conditions – Heart palpitations and heart attacks may occur in severe cases of Lyme disease. They do not show any symptoms beforehand, and can be very sudden and cause immediate death without warning.

Damaged nervous system – Seizures, paralysis in the limbs and face as well as behavioral abnormalities such as aggression have been known to occur when a dog is infected with Lyme disease. Sometimes seizures can be recurring, and paralysis can be permanent.

Removing a tick from your dog within 24 hours will greatly reduce the chance of your dog contracting Lyme disease. For more information about ticks on dogs and Lyme disease in dogs, visit www.lymediseasedogs.net

More (Dog)spired: http://dogspired.com/health-and-nutrition/springtime-and-ticks-on-dogs/

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