Lyme disease poses a serious threat to animals and is unfortunately often underestimated by veterinarians themselves. If not treated in time, it advances into later stages of the disease, which are accompanied by health complications, and often ends with premature death of the animal.
In addition to humans, borreliosis often affects dogs, cats, some livestock and wild animals as well. For disease transmission it is necessary that the tick stays attached for 6 to 48 hours. During this time, the bacteria multiply and move from the tick's salivary glands into the wound and thus into the animal's body. From there, the bacteria spread into the blood and lymph. During several weeks, the infection spreads into the tissues and joints. In dogs, borreliosis most commonly manifests as acute joint inflammation. In affected animals, sudden lameness, pain and swelling of one or more joints occur. Other symptoms include elevated temperature or fever, apathy and loss of appetite. Rare clinical manifestations of the disease include heart and kidney disorders and nervous system disruption resulting in aggression, cramps and behavioral changes. Skin changes in the form of increased redness occur very rarely in dogs.
Clinical symptoms in dogs occur two to five months after the infected tick-bite. In some animals, just like in humans, the disease progresses silently without any observable symptoms and advances into the later stages, which are very difficult to treat. Health complications in the later stages of the disease are predominantly joint and neurological.If borreliosis is not treated in time, it causes chronic inflammation of the articular apparatus, which, especially in larger breeds, contributes to the shorter lifespan of the animal. Although borreliosis is susceptible to a relatively broad spectrum of antibiotics, it is necessary to take these for three to four weeks, which can be quite costly, particularly in large dog breeds. It is therefore desirable to focus on prevention by effective and timely treatment based on laboratory testing, which works in the same way as for humans. Effective antibiotics are doxycycline or macrolides (azithromycin).