Lyme disease is a very serious illness for dogs- and unfortunately it can be hard to diagnose. Symptoms that are typically seen with Lyme disease (e.g., fever, malaise, joint and muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes) also can occur with many other conditions. Traditionally, blood tests have had difficulty differentiating between vaccinated and acutely or chronically infected dogs. Thankfully, Cornell University recently unveiled a new test for Lyme disease that will make diagnosing this condition much simpler from now on.
Veterinarians may not yet be aware of this test’s availability, so if you are concerned that your dog might have Lyme disease, print out Cornell’s information sheet and bring it to your vet’s attention. Dogs that are diagnosed with the condition usually receive several weeks of treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline and then are monitored closely for relapse and long-term complications (e.g., kidney damage) that can be associated with the disease.
Many cases of Lyme disease can be prevented through the regular use of an effective tick control medication and vaccination.