Canine Lyme Disease


What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

Canine Lyme Disease Deer TickNamed after the town in Connecticut where the outbreak was first discovered, Canine Lyme Disease (aka lime disease) is contracted by tick bites.

The Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the most likely culprit.

Ticks do not actually cause the disease, but they carry the bacteria which causes the infection.

The scientific name for this bacteria is Borrelia burgdorferi.

What Causes Lyme Disease in Dogs?

There are three other known species of ticks that can transmit the disease.

  • Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
  • Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni)
  • Western Black Legged Tick (Ixodes pacificus)

But, the majority of cases come from a very tiny tick commonly called the Deer Tick.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms of lyme disease in dog can take from 2-5 months to appear. The early signs in dogs are lack of appetite, fever and lethargy. But your dog can show any of the following signs:

  • Depression
  • Fever - temperature of 103 or higher (101-102.5 is normal)
    Some dogs do not develop a fever
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Limping from pain in the leg(s)
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lymph node swelling (usually in the affected limb)

Without treatment, it can damage joints, kidneys (glomerular disease), heart muscle and nerve tissue. In rare cases, dogs may develop aggressive behavior, heart disease, renal issues and seizures.


Common treatments for lyme disease are antimicrobial therapy and antibiotic medication.

Antibiotic therapy suppresses, but does not eliminate the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. The sysmptoms will subside. But, the bacteria will remain dormant in the dog's body.

Is My Dog At Risk?

Canine Lyme Disease MapCanine Lyme Disease has been reported in every state. But, there are certain regions that are more likely to harbor bacteria-carrying ticks than others.

It is common (or endemic) in the following areas:

High Risk

  • East coast (North Carolina to Maine - risk appears to be greater the farther north you go)
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania

Moderate Risk

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Oregon
  • Wisconsin

All other states are lower risk.

Have a Question About Lyme Disease?


Ask a Dog Veterinarian Now

We have partnered with JustAnswer so that you can get an answer ASAP.


Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs

There are three vaccines approved for Canine Lyme Disease. But, none of them are 100% effective. And they are not without risk. If you live in an area considered high risk, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of the vaccine with your trusted vet.

Topical medications have had decent success in keeping dogs safe from ticks. Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix are a couple of preventative measures. They are applied topically and spread through the skin's oil layer.

Be aware that Revolution does not protect your dog from ticks, including the dreaded deer tick. A friend of mine didn't know this and was shocked when her dog was found to be positive for canine lyme disease.

Do not use any over-the-counter flea and tick medications found in the store. They may be cheaper, but the risks (and vet bills) are just not worth it. One of these "cheap" formulas cost me over $100 at the vet and nearly took Paxton's life.

Above all, be aware that ticks and other parasites have less effect on healthy animals. Make sure you are feeding your German Shepherd a quality dog food.

FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs - Purple (Purple; 3 Month Supply; For Dogs 45-88 lbs.)



Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Tool

The information and products recommended by german-shepherd-lore.com are not intended to take the place of expert veterinarian care. Please consult with your vet and ask about using a natural and alternative approach for the healthcare and treatment of your pet. Find a holistic vet.

Follow Us

German Shepherd Lore on Facebook German Shepherd Lore on Twitter

Free Dog Obedience Training Tips




Copyright © German-Shepherd-Lore | All rights reserved.
Powered by Site Build It! | Website design by Cre8ve Online