Lyme Disease: diagnosis and prevention

Hunting dogs are more prone to getting bitten by ticks that might be carriers to this disease. You can use a tick collar or a spot-on treatment to keep them from latching on your dog. 
Lyme Disease: diagnosis and prevention
Eugenio Fernández Suárez

Written and verified by the vet Eugenio Fernández Suárez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Lyme disease can happen to any pet, but it also could be easy to prevent. So, today in this article you can look at some information about this tick-transmitted disease

How does  your pet get Lyme disease?

Borrelia burgdorferi is a species of bacteria with 11 different genotypes. It can affect both birds and mammals, and the main carriers are ticks from the Ixodidae family.

This zoonosis isn’t just a risk for pets. It’s also a health risk for humans, which makes it a more serious public health issue. 

Ticks become infected when they feed on other infected animals, and they spread they pass it on to other animals through their saliva glands. The spread of Lyme disease has everything to do with its carriers, and there’s not much anyone can do to control it from contaminating wild animals.

Lyme disease symptoms and diagnosis

In 95% of cases, dogs don’t show any symptoms of Lyme disease because it doesn’t have a standard set of symptoms. For example, joint and kidney problems might appear but there is no general rule for this disease.

Dog with Lyme disease lying down

This has made diagnostic techniques especially important. Getting a direct diagnosis through PCR, cytology, or bacteria cultures can be extremely expensive and complicated. So, most veterinarians run do blood tests to come up with a diagnosis.

A positive read only means that your dog is, or has been exposed to the bacteria. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has Lyme disease. This lack of accuracy is why it’s best to choose the more complex lab tests. Still, even though blood tests can’t diagnose it 100%, they may still be only a good warning sign.

You might start to suspect other tick-related diseases while you’re waiting for the results. In that case, your vet could use Imizol as a potential treatment for Babesiosis.

Tick warning sign in the forest

Lyme disease treatment and prevention

Using antibiotics like doxycycline for at least 1 month has been proven to treat polyarthritis caused by Lyme disease in 48 hours. Just remember, it can’t completely cure the disease.

As far as prevention, there’s no scientific consensus on vaccination. This is because there are several types of Borrelia and most vaccines don’t provide protection against all of them. Watching out for ticks is still the best form of prevention there is for now.

Dogs and cats aren’t considered to be Lyme disease carriers. But ticks can infect humans, so you need to constantly check your pets for ticks and get rid of them immediately.

That way, you keep them from becoming a human health risk. Keeping ticks away from our pets is the most vital part of reducing our own risk of Lyme disease.

Check out this article too:

The Risks Of Having Pets In Your Garden

Remember: some dogs have a higher risk of Lyme disease than others. For example, hunting dogs or dogs that live outside tend to pick up more ticks.

If that sounds like your pet, it’s very important to take preventive measures from ticks. There are all kinds of methods and medications on the market, like collars and spot-on treatments.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.