Lyme disease is an illness that affects both animals and humans-what is known as a zoonotic disease-and is the most commonly reported vector borne illness in the United States, according to the CDC. Transmitted through tick bites, the disease can be difficult to detect and can cause serious and recurring health problems. Therefore it is best to prevent infection by taking appropriate measures to prevent tick bites and for dogs, vaccinating against the disease. Consult your veterinarian to see if your pet is at risk, if your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.
Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include: Fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, decreased activity. Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.