I hate Mother Nature right now. Sorry, but its true! About a week ago, our beautiful corgi Luna started acting weird. She couldn’t really walk up the steps, she didn’t want to play, she would shake uncontrollably and eventually, she began to feel pain in her limbs that made it impossible to pick her up. She would let out this awful shriek that literally left my in tears. Long story short, the vet thinks Luna has Lyme disease. So that got me thinking about how many people and animals are impacted by this disease. Mr. GGC and I never worried about it before, but now we want to learn as much as we can in hopes that we can keep our puppy, and ourselves safe in the future.
What is Lyme disease?
We all know that Lyme disease is caused by a nasty tick bite. But, what is this disease exactly? Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Sounds like something from Harry Potter, am I right? Unfortunately, there is nothing wonderful and magical about this bacteria. Borrelia burgorferi is a double-membrane bacteria, often transmitted through blacklegged ticks that have been infected. Without getting too graphic, basically when the tick starts biting, it releases the bacteria through its saliva. The same infection is transmitted to animals who are bit.
What are the symptoms?
Humans: The easiest way to detect if you have Lyme disease is to keep an eye out for the characteristic “bull’s-eye rash”. This typically appears 3-33 days after you are bit. You may also experience:
- muscle/joint aches
- swollen joints
After 33 days, common symptoms include:
- stiff neck
- additional rashes
- irregular heartbeat
The size of the rash and bite mark may vary.
Animals: unfortunately, animals can’t tell us what is going on. That has been the saddest, most frustrating thing with Luna being sick. However, we know our pets and their day to day behaviors. It is so important NOT to ignore changes to your pet’s behavior. Common symptoms in pets include:
- Muscle/joint pain (difficult to walk, jump or hop)
- Fever (normal for dogs = 99.5-102.5; Luna had a temperature of 102.6 and that slight jump was enough for the vet to begin his diagnosis).
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of joints (the vet can easily detect this; Luna was having trouble walking on her left, rear leg, which is how we initially realized that there was an issue).
How do I treat Lyme disease?
First and foremost, remove that nasty tick! Don’t wait for it to fall off. Don’t try to freeze it off. Don’t use any weird voodoo remedies. Take a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, and attach them as close to the skin (the tick’s head) as possible. Pull up with one swift, steady motion and place the tick in alcohol to make sure it is dead. I would throw that sucker right in the toilet, and flush. Here is an easy diagram to follow.
Both people and animals should be treated with an antibiotic. Doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil are the most common. Luna is currently on Doxy, as well as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever called Meloxicam. Symptoms can last for several weeks to several months. There are different strains and degrees of Lyme disease, which is why you should seek the immediate attention of your doctor or veterinarian when symptoms occur.
We noticed a small bump on Luna about 2 weeks ago that looked like a skin tag. Now, we are thinking it could be the remnants of a tick bite. We will keep you updated on our puppies condition in the coming weeks.
Lyme disease is not something to take lightly. Unfortunately, ticks flood the east coast of the U.S each year. I know of several people who have been affected by this disease. After you, your children or your pets go outside, always do a tick check. It is better to be safe than sorry!
xoxo Mrs. GGC