How to Prevent and Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs

How to Prevent and Treat Lyme Disease in Dogs

Scientifically known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is a known zoonotic illness that afflicts both humans and animals. Experts claim that it is the most commonly occurring vector-borne disease in the country. Your dog can get Lyme disease from the black-legged tick or deer tick bites. Is there a deer tick problem in your area? Do you think your dog may have Lyme disease? Let’s discuss the methods of preventing and treating Lyme disease in dogs.



The pathogen in Lyme disease is the spiral-shaped Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, which the deer tick transmits in marshy, grassy, and wooded areas near oceans, rivers, or lakes. Camping, hiking, or walking in such locations exposes your dogs to Lyme disease. If your area is known for deer ticks, just playing in your backyard can increase your dog’s risk of getting the disease. Preventing Lyme disease is the best way to stop it from getting to your loyal furry companion.

The primary defense against Lyme disease is to have your dog vaccinated against it. The first vaccination is followed by a booster, 2 to 4 weeks after. Annual booster vaccines will follow.

Maintain your lawns and yards well by keeping the bushes and grass trimmed. Also, make sure you rake and dispose of dead leaves regularly.

Get the right tick-preventive products for your dog. Always check your dog and yourself for ticks when you arrive home from a walk and be sure to keep away from areas where deer ticks are abundant.

Although Lyme disease is not infectious from one dog to another, the veterinarian may advise you to have your other pets tested for Lyme disease as well. You may also want to have the human members of your household tested for Lyme disease to be certain.



Experts say that the main Lyme disease symptoms in dogs are lethargy, fever, joint swelling, limping, and loss of appetite. This disease is often mistaken with anaplasmosis because of the similarities in their symptoms. Your veterinarian can diagnose Lyme disease correctly through blood chemistry tests, a joint fluid analysis, X-rays, fecalysis, urinalysis, and complete blood count. 

Treatment for Lyme disease in dogs starts with a course of Doxycycline. When your veterinarian prescribes antibiotics for your dog, please follow the instructions for administering the medication. Be sure to give the follow-up care after the antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease. Your veterinarian may also prescribe pain relievers for your dog to counter the discomfort.

Studies suggest that antibiotics don’t work completely. Your dog’s Lyme disease may go away after the antibiotics but could then return later. You should also monitor kidney issues.


Lyme disease is a serious illness that can strike your dog at any time, especially if your dog hasn’t been vaccinated for it. We, at 4Paws Veterinary Hospital can help diagnose, treat, and protect your dog from Lyme disease. Feel free to visit our clinic in Duffield, VA for a walk-in consultation or call us at 276-431-4838 if you have more questions about Lyme disease or would like to set an appointment.

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Dr. Cortney Jessee