peoria county

Leaves on the Ground and Ticks on the Pet

by: Vicki Schroeder

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Is Your Dog At Risk?


  • Does your dog live in a suburban home next to wildlife areas?
  • Is your dog’s yard surrounded by tall brush?
  • Do you take your dog walking, hiking, or on camping or fishing trips in      wooded areas?
  • Does your dog frequent areas with a high deer population?

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. When a tick carrying Lyme disease bites a dog, the spirochete will pass through the bloodstream and is carried to many parts of the body, most likely localize in the joints. It was first thought that only a few types of ticks could transmit this disease, but now it appears that several common species may be involved. The most common type of tick to carry Lyme disease is the Deer Tick. Ticks in the Peoria area are most often found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas.

Symptoms of canine Lyme disease include:

  • Lameness in legs
  • Warm joints
  • A stiff walk with an arched back
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Kidney failure

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to their veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were “walking on eggshells.” Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.

How do I protect my dog from Lyme disease?

Canine Lyme disease is largely preventable through a comprehensive tick-borne disease control program of applying a topical tick repellant monthly, such as Revolution or Parastar Plus, tick checks and vaccination. This vaccine is given twice, at three week intervals, initially. Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs?

Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. At PAVG we will run a antibody blood test if we suspect your pet is suffering from Lyme disease.

How is Lyme Disease Treated?

Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be controlled by antibiotics. A lengthy course of treatment is necessary to completely eradicate the organism.

Call our Peoria, Dunlap, or Chillicothe locations today to learn how we can help keep your pet safe!