As I look back 3 months ago, I can now see all the signs I missed regarding lyme disease in my dog. Usually my dog Pumpkin would eagerly await to be let out of her crate at 5:30 am each and every morning. However now that she is 9 years old she started sleeping a little later, getting out of her crate slower and really taking her time doing the doggie stretch before she went down the stairs to go to the “outhouse”. Her energy level quickly diminished. I was not aware this was most likely not signs of old age in a dog.
A few days ago, she suddenly started limping. She held up her right hind paw and was walking on 3 legs. She also had this shiver about her. She would sit down and just shake. I thought she sprained her leg, had a stone caught in her paw or it was the winter weather here in New England and some snow got in there. I even considered if it was luxating patella. After a day of her limping, she took a visit to the vet where I explained to Doc the chain of events going on.
The vet examined her completely, asked a ton of questions and took a blood test. From the look on Docs face I could tell she had a very good idea what it was. She left the room for 15 minutes to run the test and came back in with the news. Our dog Pumpkin had lyme disease. Prescribed Doxycycline, but that really upset her stomach and she refused to eat which also caused the problem of her not taking her medicine. The medication was quickly changed to Amoxicillin which as of tonight seems to be doing the trick.
At first I was relieved it wasn’t luxating patella but I wasn’t fully aware of the complications lyme can have on a dog. Lyme disease can attack not only the joints but the organs. This little bugger of a micro organism is called Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms include but are not limited to: loss of appetite, lethargic behavior, limping, joint pain, fever, swollen joints and the list goes on. It can come on suddenly or slowly rear it’s ugly head over time. Our pets are so good at hiding their pain. In the wild pain and sickness is a sign of weakness. That is why they hide it so well.
If your dog is diagnosed with lyme I would suggest having your Vet also test their organ levels to see how advanced the disease is. Ex: kidneys, liver, pancreatic function.
Our dogs are on the flea and tick prevention. I won’t mention the name of the very expensive cocktail they are on. It obviously doesn’t prevent lyme. It does kill the tick once the tick BITES them and infects the dog.
Advice: Check for ticks every day. Even in the winter. Notice the small progressive signs. Changes in behavior are a key sign. As we humans are so busy many times the pets slow behavioral changes are overlooked. Hiding under things or refusing affection are a big sign. Pumpkin starting hiding under my desk and didn’t want any affection.
I have been sleeping with her along with her “friends” lampchops on the dog bed for 4 nights now. I don’t want her to be alone and feel scared or cold. Feeling safe, warm and comfortable is a big part in the healing process.