My Dog Tested Positive for Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by tick bite, most commonly the deer tick. Particularly during the warm months many pets are bitten by ticks carrying this disease.  The disease is most commonly seen in the northeast and mid sections of the country, but has been documented in many other states as well.

Lyme disease is most commonly seen in dogs, as cats seem to be more resistant to the organism. Most pets that are naturally exposed to Lyme disease never develop any symptoms or get sick.  Therefore if a pet “tests positive” for Lyme disease, it does not necessarily mean that a pet is sick or infected, or needs treatment.

Tests performed by your pet's veterinarian can help determine if your pet has been exposed to Lyme disease

Many pets will get over the disease on their own, but can remain positive on a blood test for months or years. Many veterinarians have a simple blood test in the office that can tell an animal guardian within minutes if a pet has been exposed to Lyme disease. Other laboratory tests such as a western blot or C6 blood test can be done but are rarely needed in clinical practice in my experience.

However, only if a pet is symptomatic should antibiotic therapy be instituted. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Swollen glands
  • Fever
  • Limping (which can be a shifting lameness in different legs)
  • And occasionally kidney and heart/nervous system complications

Certainly families of Labrador and Golden Retrievers appear to be more genetically predisposed to the kidney form of Lyme disease than other breeds. Treatment usually consists of 3 to 6 weeks of antibiotic therapy, most commonly Doxycycline, which also can treat other hidden tick-borne diseases.  There are vaccinations available for Lyme disease, however, in my opinion and experience the vaccinations may not be effective and I am concerned about long term autoimmune problems. The best prevention against Lyme disease is using year-round flea and tick control, such as topical Frontline Plus or Advantix II.

Comments

  1. Jayson says

    Jersey is our Medium shorthair Dauschund, about 6 years old. About 1.5months ago she woke up and was limping on front leg. It got better on it’s own after about a day or so. About a week later she was limping again on the opposite front leg. It too went away on it’s own. About 3-4 weeks ago she seemed to not be feeling well, was running a temp of about 105. We took her to the emergency vet and $1700 later they said she may have an enlarged spleen and could have lymphoma. We did send off slides of an asprid of the spleen but it was negative for anything bad (not sure what they looked for specifically). We followed up with our regular vet and he said the spleen was enlarged but it was uniform, so unlikely a tumor or anything like that. We have had her on antibiotics for about two weeks and she has seemed 100% normal. He said continue these antibiotics for about 30 days. Well this morning she woke up and is suddenly holding her back leg up. (Went to bed 100% fine last night). We figured maybe it will get better on it’s own again like the last two times with the front legs. I checked on her a couple hours later and she was obviously in pain so I rushed her into the vet. She felt all around and nothing made the dog yelp, she said everything “felt” fine but did prescribe some meloxidyl liquid. I gave it about half hour ago but poor dog is still moaning and won’t lay still. I don’t know if the different leg pains and the fever are associated, or associated with today’s new symptom. She is otherwise a good healthy fun dog so I don’t know what has been going on. Hopefully someone can help. We are quickly going broke after spending upwards of $3000 now with no real answers or resolution. :-(

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Given the breed, sounds like a back problem or disc issue which often does not even show up on routine x rays, although certainly your local vet can look for these on x rays. I would ask your vet for trial with pain meds like metacam, gabapentin and tramadol for a few weeks and see if limping goes away. If not, may need MRI of spine

  2. Jayson says

    Oh also a tick test was done and sent off that took two days. They said it was negative. We live in Colorado and I’m told ticks aren’t really a problem here. (I’ve never even seen one myself). We did go camping a few months ago and afterwards checked the dog. She does have a small bump in her armpit. But it hasn’t grown or changed since then. It’s underneath the skin.

  3. William says

    Hello, my 5 year old Golden Retriever has tested positive for Lyme disease each of the last three years, including today. He has never showed symptoms and we were told by many that it was normal. This is the first year that he tested positive for Ehrlichiosis (or at least having the antibody). Should we be concerned, or is it a similar situation to the Lyme disease positive test? He has no symptoms and is in great overall health. I’ve been told by a former vet (now virologist) that we shouldn’t worry or do the additional tests unless he shows some signs on illness. Is that a solid plan? Thanks!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Excellent questions. Answer would depend on which veterinary internal medicine specialist you speak to. Most vets DONT treat positive lyme tests, unless symptomatic. As for Ehrlichiosis, most vets will treat with 3 to 4 weeks of doxycycline, even if asymptomatic, due to the potential severity of this disease.

  4. Andrea says

    Ive been enjoying reading this post its been quite informative. A few month ago my beagle 5-7y/o) tested positive for lyme and they talked me into doing another test for it as well. I was supposed to get a script for doxycycline but this was right at the time of the price spike and I couldnt afford $250 on top of the $400 from the appappointment. I felt very pressured and deceived by my vet, my dogs only sypmtom is lethargy but thats even hardly noticeable because hes never been super active. the only other concern I had was hes gotten very white this year but the vet didnt care. Do you think I need to treat it? Also have minocycline from my other dog would I be able to give him that? thanks

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Minocycline is fine to use as a substitute. Check with your local vet…. Actually many other cheap antibiotics kill the bacteria that causes lyme disease just as well i.e amoxicillin, cephalexin, etc. Doxy covers other tick born diseases but these other two antibiotics work for lyme just as well!!!

  5. cori says

    hi,my 35lbs shelti was just diagnosed with lyme disease.the vet told me to put my dog on a diet and he gave me a script for minocycline 100mlx2 a day.my dog did well but on the third day he started throwing up.i called my vet and they told me to give the dog pepcid ac ,feed the dog and wait 20 min before giving him the minocycline,i tried that and he still threw everything up.oh my dog was tested twice for lyme in 1 week and his quantitive c6 antibody test result was 51-u/ml. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Jason says

    Hi my parents 5 yr old neapolitan mastiff was tested positive for lyme about 2 months ago. She had no real symptoms and it was just found during her routine check up. My parents put her on doxycycline for a normal cycle and she took it relatively fine.

    Recently for about 5-6 days or so she has been on and off limping on her front right leg. She doesn’t whimper at all on her own and doesn’t whimper when I try touching her to see if something is sore (maybe because shes such a large dog).

    Not sure if I should be worried or not. The limping isn’t consistent. Sometimes I can’t tell if she is limping or not, sometimes its obvious. She has had a decent amount of changes though. The week before she started limping I started walking her fairly regularly on the sidewalk. My parents also got a new couch and now the couch is off limits for her. So she typically lays on her doggy bed on her side now.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      The limping should be checked out by a vet. Could be soft tissue injury from over exertion. I doubt secondary to lyme issue.

  7. DJ says

    Hey, I have a 4 yearold american bully…..she had been yeping and flea biting around her body leaving me to think she may have got bit my a tick maybe 3-5 days ago…., she is indoor dog 90% of the time, still eating and drinking normally but been acting lazy the last day or two…….what do you think? any home remedies? also do you think its a tick? or if it is will it cure herself without meds?

    • DJ says

      Update: shes eating fine and drining fine….wont get up on stuff…yelping/whining at different times randomly…stool is normal…..being lazy and the whining getting more often or whatever hurting her more…..has a little bit of a fever and runny nose.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Best to have vet check and evaluation before I can make any specific recommendations. I would not assume tick born disease unless evaluated by vet. Hard to say if from tick bite or something else which is why a vet exam is recommended.

  8. ME says

    I have an 8 month old boxer/beagle and recently discovered what looks to be 2 deer ticks on her neck. I removed them with tweezers and used rubbing alcohol and antibacterial soap. Both areas are read and scabby. My kids said they seen the 1st one over a week ago and thought it was a mole. Although she has no symptoms of Lyme disease, looking at the time line, I am fearful of her being infected. Please advise.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Most dogs who are exposed to lyme disease have NO symptoms of lyme and get over it find on their own. I would just monitor her, and see your vet if signs of lethargy or limping develop. I would recommend good tick prevention such as the pill Nexguard from 1800petmeds.

  9. Reeta says

    I have a four month old German shepherd who started limping with one leg and now both for the past three days. He also seems very lethargic , I have noticed he finds it very hard to get off his hind legs.
    We are in India in a small town and there isn’t many vets around. Plz help and advise
    Many thanks

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Many possibilities from an injury to hip dysplasia. Unfortunately not much I can tell you to do over the internet, as this is one that needs a vet exam. You could try a natural remedy called Traumeel from 1800petmeds to see if it can help.

  10. Hailey says

    Hi Dr. Dym!

    My 5 yr old basset began limping on his left rear leg Saturday. Monday I took him in to the vet & the blood test came back for Lyme disease and he also has a yeast infection in between his toes on the same side as his lame leg. My vet believes limping is from L.D., & gave us antibiotics as well as ointment for the yeast infection. It’s now Thursday & he still has a limp and definitely isn’t himself–seems depressed & doesn’t have much of an appetite. Have you had experience with dogs not improving to the treatment from Lyme disease? Is it possible his limp is just from the yeast infection & will take more time to heal? The vet did an extensive exam of his hind legs & felt no other abnormalities. Thanks in advance!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      HI Hailey. In my experience and opinion, lyme disease is WAY overidiagnosed as a cause of lameness in dogs. In many areas of the country MANY dogs are naturally exposed to lyme disease, and may test positive, but most NEVER develop any symptoms or get sick. The yeast infection is a possibility as a cause, as well as soft tissue injury, etc. The antibiotic most commonly used for lyme disease i.e doxycycline may cause loss of appetite in some pets. I would have a vet recheck and evaluation to tweak the meds and explore another cause or diagnosis of the lameness.

  11. Heather Rines says

    Our 6 year old, 29 lb Beagle, Ellie was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, is in incredible pain and has been on antibiotics as well as Rimadyl for one week. The vet said she should be greatly better in 48-72 hours but after a week she isn’t showing any improvement, is still in great pain, unable to move much at all and doesn’t have much of an appetite. Does this sound like Lyme? Is it normal for a dog not to improve in this timeframe or should we be concerned?
    Thank you!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Most cases that are sick from symptomatic lyme usually respond within a few days. I suspect there is another complicating disease or condition here. I would return to vet for full workup, including blood work and possibly x rays. Some dogs will need other pain meds like tramadol, gabapentin and/or even prednisone instead of the rimadyl. This breed also VERY prone to spinal DISC disease, which is my leading thought here, and in that case pred much better choice over rimadyl. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

      • Heather Rines says

        They did x-rays at her first visit as well as a complete blood workup and found nothing but Lyme. We have taken her back in and we were told that she is having a die off reaction and they added Gabapentin to her Rimadyl and Doxycycline. Unfortunately she’s still in a lot of pain, not able to move around and still doesn’t have much of an appetite. We called the Vet again today due to her pain not improving and were told that because we live in Maine the cold is effecting her joint pain. I was wondering if we could possibly give her an over the counter or natural joint relief medication?
        Thank You!

        • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

          Gabapentin a good choice, as well as a more novel pain medicine like Amantadine which you can look up also on this website. As for other pain meds, try yucca intensive by azmira from 1800petmeds, as well as Tumeric, which is GREAT anti inflammatory at dose of 10-20 mg per pound once to twice daily which you can get from health food store. I personally like to approach these more holistically, so may be worthwhile looking into some of suggestions I made in my last answer. I dont buy the die off phenomenon.

        • Heather Rines says

          I just wanted to give an update on our Beagle, Ellie… For almost a month our girl was in terrible pain and my husband and I deciding we’d try one last medication before we very regretfully said our final goodbye to our little floppy eared beagle. We spoke with her amazing vet and she was thinking that on top of the Lyme Disease Ellie was having a spinal disc issue which is very common in her breed and that we should try a course of steroids. After just one dose Ellie’s pain began getting better, she wasn’t crying with her every move, she wasn’t shaking anymore, she was eating some again, and after a few days she was very close to being herself again. We are so beyond happy to have our girl back again!!
          ~Heather ~

  12. Steph Rooks says

    I took my 3y.o. Basset hound to the vet today after I noticed a decrease in appetite, lethargic behavior, and quivering. She tested positive in the snap test for Lyme, so she was given 30 day dose of doxy. My only concern is the quivering, I’ve researched and haven’t seen any mention of quivering being an associated side effect. Please advise me as to this being normal, or should I get a second opinion? I don’t feel like the quivering was addressed by the vet as it should have been because it was a major contributing factor to me noticing something wasn’t right with my dog.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Nonspecific quivering and/or trembling is not a specific sign of lyme disease.. Just that your dog is not in balance. A second opinion never a bad idea, but you may want to see if symptoms abate with the antibiotics after a few weeks. Sometimes lyme over blamed as a cause of symptoms in dogs, so a full workup including other blood work, x rays and/or ultrasound is sometimes needed.

      • Steph says

        My dog has since been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, she had dormant Lyme disease. She had her initial Addison’s crash, and is now on a monthly injection and daily pill to treat her.

  13. A.S. says

    Our dog was diagnosed in July/August with Lyme after becoming increasingly lethargic and lame on one of her back legs (the diagnosis came several months after the first onset of limping, for which she was seen the prior April).
    She was placed on an antibiotic for about a month in addition to a steroid (I can’t recall the names of either) and after finishing the meds, seemed to have a great improvement in energy, although she still had a slight limp.
    She’s been getting more lethargic again lately, and barely puts any weight on her back leg. Her vet has run a battery of tests and xrays, but the entire office is stumped as to what is causing the limp. She’s just been placed back on another antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. Their recommendation is to treat with an orthopedic specialist to see what’s going on with her leg.
    We can’t really afford the cost of a specialist, since I believe this could go into the $1000’s. Do you have any other recommendations on what we could do or where we could go? Are there any homeopathic options? Could the fact that she went so long undiagnosed mean that she now has permanent damage in her leg joints?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      I would not worry about permanent damage to her joints. From my experience as BOTH a 23 year experience traditionally trained vet and a holistic/homeopathic veterinarian, most of these nebulous diagnoses of “lyme disease” in dogs is WAY over diagnosed, as most dogs exposed and testing positive for lyme disease never develop symptoms or get sick, so that leaves us with what does a positive test mean? Which many still dont know. Most of these chronic lamenesses, if not due to a structural problem like torn ACL or patella luxation, are due to immune mediated inflammation of the joints and are usually managed with cortisone and/or other immune suppressive meds like atopica or cyclosporine. You would need to have joint taps for definitive diagnosis. I would encourage exploring a more holistic or homeopathic option, which is a chronic process of restoring health and balance, rather than a quick fix I can suggest here. To learn more about homeopathy, see the booklet on the website http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as the information on my website. Many homeopathic vets like myself do offer phone consultations..

  14. Holly says

    My 13 lb cockapoo tested positive for Lyme. Additional testing with Lyme C6, gave a number of 169 along with the suggestion of anything over 30 to be treated. I have not noticed symptons, but am concerned with her long term well-being. I read everything you say above about not treating without symptons, but since the titer showed active Lyme, I am a little uneasy not doing anything and leaving untreated. Might ledum be a solution? Or since it is active, would you suggest I treat with an antibiotic?

    Also..I have never been a fan of the spot tic treatments, but have used them reluctantly given the problems of tics in my area– rural PA where Lyme is rampant. We do spray the yard with Pyrethrin. Brevecto (Merck’s new oral tic preventative) was just suggested. Given its newness to the market and my reservations about overtreatment/over-vaccinating/over-medicating, etc, I am not 100% comfortable. What are your thoughts? Thank you :)

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      HI Holly. Thanks for your well thought out question. I would consider consulting with a classical, constitutional veterinary homeopath, as I dont think ledum would be helpful in this situation, based on your description. To learn more about constitutional classical homeopathy, see the booklet on the website http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as my website http://www.doctordym.com Many homeopathic vets like myself do offer phone consultations. Homeopathy is not quick fix and requires, time, patience and commitment, but may be worth while exploring in this situation.

  15. Manjula Dean says

    Hi! I have an almost 15 year old female dalmatian/pointer mix. 2 years ago she suffered from two incidents ‘old dog vestibular disease’ a few months apart from eachother. She recovered to maybe 85% with loving care.
    Otherwise, she has had no physical problems that I know of.
    For the last year she has become increasingly stiff, walking with an arched back, and having difficulty standing without falling back slowly in to a sit position. Even in the sit position her front legs will begin to slide out from under her. She has also become fecally incontinent.
    One vet I saw simply said she is old and that “the pack would have killed her and eaten her by now” in the wild ! His diagnosis w/o x-rays was arthritis. He has her on Deramaxx.
    I finally went for a second opinion to another more hositically minded vet. She took x-rays and said suprisingly there was little arthritis noticeable in either her hips or back. The vet also said her reflexes & range of motion are good. She prescribed Adequin shots and laser therapy. My dog also tested low for thyroid, so vet put my dog on Soloxine.
    My dog doesn’t seem to be improving with the Adequin and laser therapy. And all I notice from Soloxine is a possible decrease in appetite, which is alarming as she is already very thin.
    It suddenly occurred to me that my dog could have Lyme disease. I live in No. California where we have lots of deer ticks. My dog is wobbly & unbalanced, lethargic, and depressed, with low appetite. Sometimes she limps noticeably, othertimes she is just very stiff looking.
    I’d love any advice you can give– I don’t want to just write off my dog as being old, if there is an actual disease process going on that I could help her with.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Sorry to hear of her issues. Even though no obvious findings on x rays, that does not rule out underlying joint or in this situation more likely neurological spinal disease, based on your constitutional history of her symptoms of vestibular issues, etc MRI’s of spine would be needed, which are very expensive and not going to change how we manage her situation at this age. . The second vet does not sound too holistic to me, as I doubt this dog has a thyroid issue if she is thin to begin with. I would work with a constitutional homeopath, such as myself on a more individualized approach to the issue, using single constitutional homeopathic remedies, along with nutritional supplements over time to hopefully help with quality of life. I DONT think you will ever get a specific diagnosis of her issues, and I think the approach I outline here gives you the best option. To learn more about constitutional homeopathy, see the booklet on the website http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as the info on my website. Many constitutional homeopaths, like myself do offer phone consultations. http://www.doctordym.com

  16. Very confused says

    My 11.2 pound, 6 year old poodle just tested positive for Lyme via the Tick Serology test done with his Heartworm test.

    The vet (my regular practice but a new vet there) wants me to bring in a urine sample before starting treatment. I’m confused as to why since his blood work already shows that he’s positive for Lyme, although Asymptomatic. My understanding is that she wants to check for proteins in the urine to check kidney function. If that urine test comes back normal, she recommends no Lyme treatment at this time but another Lyme test in the future. I’m definitely missing something…I still don’t understand how protein in the urine will change the fact that he tested positive for Lyme disease. Can someone explain? Thanks!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Excellent questions. While there are no uniform standard treatments of lyme positive dogs, if your dog has no symptoms of lyme disease, than treatment is probably not indicated as most dogs who are exposed to lyme disease get over it on their own with no treatment, and a positive test simply means exposure at some point in the past, but NOT necessarily mean active infection, especially if no signs. Purpose of urine protein test is to check if your dog may have very rare form of lyme kidney disease known as lyme nephropathy, which is not likely given the breed, but if excessive protein in urine, should be treated.

  17. jennie says

    Hi I just got a free puppy that is 12 weeks old he’s a Chihuahua mix he was dirty and had one big tick on him I can feel the bones on his back like he needs more meat there but his belly is round he has a lot of energy and he eats good and pops fine but he farts a lot and it stinks so bad lol do u think he can be really sick I’m going to take him to the vet tomorrow to get his fist shots what do u think I should ask the vet to check on him do u think its going to cost alot ?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      At this age most likely has intestinal parasites so a stool check for that, as well as preventative worming likely indicated with pyrantel, nemex or panacure C, along with his vaccinations.

  18. Michael says

    I need a REAL opinion. Our vet just graduated in 2014 and I’m lacking faith in her abilities. We took our dogs in to get them checked after a bout of diarrhea with Sophie and their normal checkups. Both are Lhasapoo’s. Since one was 7 it was recommended to get senior blood work done. Upon receipt of the results we found that Sophie has kidney disease. Her BUN/UREA is 131 and her CREA is 1.9 and her ALB is 2.6. The VET asked if we wanted to do a Lyme disease test and her number came back positive at 89. We had the other dog tested and all her numbers were fine except for the fact she came back positive as well for Lyme at 84. Both were put on Minocycline by the VET although they NEVER had any symptoms of Lyme.
    Now I have a serious problem. Neither one of them will eat now. We tried starting Sophie, on the kidney food for her KD but she won’t eat it. Sadie, our other dog is acting the exact same way. The only thing I can get either of them to eat is Oscar Mayer Chicken/Pork bologna or Chicken Nuggets which neither of them are a good alternative to dog food however I need to get something into them as they are losing weight. I have about two weeks left on Sophie for her medicine and 3 weeks for Sadie. I can’t keep feeding them this stuff, especially Sophie who has Kidney Disease but doesn’t act like it and doesn’t show any symptoms.

    What recommendations can you give me because I hate to see them suffer like this without eating. They would always eat ANYTHING I would give them. I had them on the best dog food that money could buy that was totally natural but they don’t want it.The VET just keeps saying that it’s all about the quality of life for Sophie, like she doesn’t have much time left. Any suggestions would be IMMENSLEY appreciated by my girls.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Continue all medications unless instructed by your local vet. Consider home diets for kidney disease in book Dr Pitcairn’s guide to natural health for dogs and cats by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, phd which are much better than commercial diets.

  19. Sonia says

    Dear Doctor,

    1. About 10 days ago my 2 yr old Lab was diagnosed with Lyme disease after showing symptoms: ran 103.6 F fever, was very lethargic, stopped eating.

    2. Since then he is on
    a. Doxycycline 100 mg twice a day
    b. B complex
    c. Iron
    d. Liv 52

    3. He is not having fever since last three days for which I had given him Paracetamol 500 + Nimesulide 100 mg twice a day. I stopped it three days ago.

    4. But he has started limping since yesterday.

    5. Is it normal with Lyme?

    6. Will the limping go away on its own?

    Please help!

    thanks and regards

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Most dogs who develop symptoms from lyme exposure suffer from an autoimmune component. See your vet about possible cortisone trial, as well as put on good supplements like super joint enhancer from 1800petmeds.

  20. Sandy says

    I have 2 lhasa apso/poodle mix female dogs who both tested positive for lyme disease. Sophie is 7 and Sadie is 6. Sophie had the Senior blood work done which showed that she had kidney disease. The vet then tested her for Lyme and it was positive. So then we took in Sadie for the Lyme test she tested positive. I had the second test done ( titer) I believe and Sophies number was 89 and Sadies 84. The vet put them both on minocycline 50 mg. Both of my dogs WILL NOT eat. We have tried everything. I called my vet and was told that they have to have the treatment for Lyme Disease. But I don’t know how long they can go with out eating. If I stop their medication what harm can i do to them.?Sophie has 8 days left and Sadie has 14 days left. Thank you!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      In my opinion if they are getting sick i.e loss of appetite from meds I would stop giving the antibiotics, but see your vet about this. Most of time lyme disease is due to autoimmune response, and not due to the bacteria. Therefore antibiotics themselves are not as important in my opinion

  21. matt says

    My 8 year old dog went untreated for lyme for about a month. When we took her in to vet, she went on 30 days of doxy then a week later she went on 10 more days because she still wasn’t doing well. At this point it has been 6 months later and she still shows symptoms. I have seen 3 vets and I swear that they know nothing but how to empty my wallet. She gets a fever time to time, non stop depression, stiff joints, arched back, can walk slowly but can not get off the bed herself. She eats as she always has but went from healthy 55lbs to bony 30. She still has control of her bladder and her mind is all there. Not sure what to do with this poor loved one at this point. I don’t want her to suffer, but it has been 6 months with no improvements…

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      HI Matt. Sorry to be so late in getting back to you, but most of these cases of chronic lyme like symptoms are NOT due to the organism but due to an overactive or autoimmune response. In most cases immunosuppressive meds like prednisone and/or atopica/cyclosporine are needed. I would recommend you consult with a veterinary internal medicine specialist

  22. Nicolette M says

    My 11 year old beagle just this Sunday woke up not being able to walk. He had a limp and was in a lot of pain. He was dignoised with arthritis before this so that’s what we thought it was. We took him to the vet and they gave us pain meds. Next day we was worse he could not walk at all not even go to the bathroom without help. Went to the get again this time different doctor. Said it was Lyme tested him and the next day blood work came back positive. Started him on antibiotics. Said he should be fine. But i am worried if he might not. Even tho he tested positive for Lyme, what if him not being able to walk wasn’t the Lyme disease and he does not get better? Is there other diseases that can cause this?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Sorry to be so late in getting back to you on this, but in this breed I most commonly think of intervertebral disc disease and inflammation as causing these issues, even if lyme test is positive, that only means animal has been exposed to lyme, not necessarily causing current symptoms. Even the antibiotic doxycycline has anti inflammatory properties, so even using it in pets WITHOUT lyme infection can help. I hope your dog is feeling better.

  23. Kami says

    I have an 11 year old Beagle as well and she has had intermittant limping in her front leg for years now accompanied by pain in her spine when she goes through her dog door. Some days she will not use her leg at all and I know that can not be good for the rest of her body compensating. X-rays show nothing except good bone structure. We thought it was arthritis but there hasn’t been any pain or muscle medication that helps for more than a couple of days. We have recently started her on Gabapentin along with her muscle relaxers and pain meds. We have a secondary Vet that has just started treating her with accupunture, red light therapy and manipulation. She recommended we start her on a bone broth and grain free diet and we started that about a week and a half ago. She recommended we have her tested for Lyme. We are taking her friday to have her tested. She told us that she has a lot of inflammation present and suggested we start her on Zeel 2xday which we have done. Is there any advice you can give on top of what we are doing or meds we should take her off of?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Sounds like good approach, although I think lyme disease testing a waste of time and money, as even if positive for exposure, that likely has nothing to do with chronic symptoms. Zeel is fine to try short term, but dont use more than a few weeks if it does not help. Other options include Tumeric at dose of 10 mg per pound twice daily added to your regimen, as well as great joint supplement like glycoflex III from 1800petmeds. You could also consider totally new and alternative approach like classical homeopathy. To find a homeopath trained in your area, see list of vets at http://www.drpitcairn.com

  24. Rich says

    I believe my dog had Lyme disease took many many ticks out of her in the past, is it safe to treat her without a costly vet bill, the doxycycline should be safe to give her without a diagnoses correct? I saw you state there have been no known short or long term side effects from the antibiotic she just out of nowhere got lazy with limping in the hind legs, We have stairs to the outside so very worried.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Doxycycline should not be a problem, although we dont like to use antibiotics for noninfectious conditions, this antibiotic has known anti inflammatory effects.

  25. Melinda says

    I have a Bichon and in 2013 he was tested a low positive and I gave him a round of antibiotics. Just had him in the vets office for a check up and regular shots and he has tested for a low positive again. We are in New York and our warmest day in about 3 or more months was 45 degrees a few days ago. No ticks seen. Since he has shown no symptoms, should I start the antibiotics again or not?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian says

      Given he has no symptoms, I would NOT treat routinely for this condition. A positive test only indicates that he has prior exposure to lyme disease, not current infection with clinical symptoms.

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