Lyme disease is, unfortunately, a common condition in Golden Retrievers. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is transmitted to dogs and humans by an infected tick.
Ticks don’t have the ability to fly or jump, they can only crawl. They wait in long grass and other vegetation for the dog or person to pass through. They will quickly attach themselves to the future host and then they will crawl to the place most suitable to bite.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Golden Retrievers
Affected Golden Retrievers may show some of the following symptoms:
- Reduced energy level
- Joint Swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Stiffness, pain, and discomfort
Diagnosing Lyme Disease
When the veterinarian suspects your dog may be affected by Lyme Disease, he will take into account physical symptoms, your dog’s health history, before performing diagnostic tests.
There are two blood tests for Lyme disease diagnosis, Quant C6, and the C6 test.
The C6 test is used to determine the presence of antibodies in the dog’s blood. Their presence suggests the existence of an active infection. Quant C6 test, together with urinalysis, is performed to determine if the antibiotic treatment is needed.
Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Golden Retrievers
Some dogs that are tested positive, will have no clinical signs of the disease and will act perfectly normal. In these cases, the veterinarian may decide not to treat them with antibiotics and will typically leave them alone.
However, Lyme disease in Golden and Labrador Retrievers can be manifested in its deadly form – Lyme nephritis. This form of Lyme disease will cause fatal kidney failure, which will result in the death of the affected dog. Therefore, as soon as the infection is discovered in these two dog breeds, the vet will treat it with Doxycycline.
When treated with Doxycycline dogs will recover pretty fast. Usually, it only takes a couple of days for a dog to go into remission. Fever will be gone after only two days of treatment, and the dog will sone act normally.
Can I Catch The Disease From My Golden Retriever?
The simple answer is no! Dogs are not the direct source of infection, thus they can not transmit it to other dogs, or humans for that matter. However, an infected tick that comes into your house on your dog’s fur can bite and infect you. In case your Golden is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you should visit your doctor to see if there is a need for you to be tested.
Most of the flea and tick control medicines you can find on the market work fine. However, you should not combine them and use them at the same time, as this is just too much poison for your Golden.
As we mentioned, ticks are living on top of the long grass and other vegetation. For that reason, you should mow your lawn often and trim the bushes. You can also have the perimeter of the house sprayed by a pest control company.
Most importantly, don’t think that your dog is safe in the winter months! It is a common misconception that ticks die in winter. They are only less active, but with the first warm day, they are ready to find a host.