MDs and Vets working to promote early detection of Lyme

Name a few things you and your pooch have in common. Maybe one of them is sharing walks in the woods on your weekend getaways to Upstate New York or New England. Whatever the venue of these adventures you share, if your dog has recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease you need to remain super vigilant for the sake of your family and even yourself, according to medical and veterinary professionals.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there has been a dramatic increase in the number of diagnosed human infection cases of Lyme disease per year – up from 30,000 to 300,000 recently,” writes Dr. Justine A, Lee, a veterinarian and contributing writer for Pet Health Network in a recent article titled Veterinarians are Working with Medical Doctors to Promote Early Detection of Lyme Disease.

Lyme disease has been found in every US State, and it would be dangerous to think that your dog is safe based on your location. People who live in these 13 states should know that the incidence of Lyme disease is especially great: CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, VT, VA, WI. (NY includes NYC, Manhattan, L.I., Westchester, Brooklyn and Bronx!)

Lyme disease can affect humans, dogs, horses and other species, and is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world. Clinical signs of Lyme disease vary between humans and dogs, according to Lee.

Human symptoms of Lyme disease

Clinical signs of acute Lyme include:

•Flu-like signs

•A target-like rash

Chronic (long-lasting) signs of Lyme disease in humans include:

•Arthritis <>

•Skin changes

•Neurologic signs (e.g., meningitis)

•Cardiac signs (e.g., arrhythmias)

Dog Symptoms of Lyme disease

In dogs, three states of Lyme disease can be seen: acute, sub-acute and chronic. With acute Lyme disease in dogs, clinical signs include:

•Transient fever <>

•Lethargy <>

•Depression <>

•Hesitance to move



•Enlarged lymph nodes

•Acute arthritis (i.e., warm joints that are painful to touch)

Sub-acute clinical signs, like limping, <> may also be seen in dogs, and can last several weeks.

Chronic clinical signs in dogs include:

•Cardiac changes (e.g., bradyarrhythmias such as heart block, etc.)

•Neurologic signs


•Changes related to Lyme nephritis (e.g., inflammation of the kidneys that can result in acute kidney failure <>, which is estimated to occur in 1-2% of dogs affected by Lyme disease)

•“If your dog did test positive for Lyme disease (commonly tested for using an IDEXX SNAP 4Dx® Plus Test), it means your dog has been exposed to Bb,” Lee writes. “While this may not necessitate treatment, it does mean that you need to improve your prevention methods – for you, your children and your pets!”

•“Amazingly, some dogs may spontaneously recover from Lyme disease without therapy at all. However, that said, the prognosis for chronic manifestations of Lyme disease (e.g., Lyme nephritis) is grave,” she writes. “Again, preventive care is imperative to help minimize the incidence of clinically symptomatic Lyme infection in both four-legged and two-legged family members.”

•Health professionals of both two-legged and four-legged patients agree that promoting awareness and stepping up prevention are key.

•The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) teamed up with American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to help increase awareness of Lyme disease and promote early detection.

•“By teaming up to increase awareness, hopefully both veterinarians and medical doctors can work together to help diagnose illness sooner. Pet owners who have had a dog diagnosed with Lyme disease should consult with their medical doctor to discuss their own risk – or their children’s risk. Also, people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease should be advised to consult with their veterinarian to discuss testing, better preventive care <> for their dog and minimizing environmental exposures,” Lee said.

•Always consult your pet’s veterinarian if you suspect your pup has been infected or if you have any questions or concerns on the subject of Lyme.

•Remember to contact your local Off Leash K9 Training professional for assistance with any canine behavioral issues or concerns, including food aggression, obedience training questions, potty training mishaps and dog socialization.