Agility Trial Day 2: The Unexpected (Lyme Disease!)

by Melissa R. on October 3, 2009

Our 2nd day of our competition was beautiful and sunny! It was going to be a FUN day as I had all kinds of friends and family coming to watch. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way I was hoping.

Mocca getting her foot iced

Mocca getting her foot iced

We planned to leave around 10am, and at about 8am, I noticed, to my surprise, Mocca walking around outside with a
L – I – M – P!

I kept an eye on her and thought maybe it would work itself out, but it didn’t get any better. In fact, it just got worse. By 8:30 I realized there was no way we were going to be able to go anywhere. She was limping badly on her front left paw, and I had NO idea why. She was fine the night before, and fine right away in the morning when we got up. I called everybody to let them know that we would be canceling our plans for the day.

It was a great disappointment, as we were so looking forward to the day of Agility. However, I was very worried about Mocca. I checked her paw for anything stuck in it and didn’t find anything. She didn’t put much weight on it and seemed to realize it didn’t feel right and was laying down a lot. Poor Mocca spent most of the day cooped up in her room so she’d stay settled. That evening it was no better, if anything worse. I iced it a few times, which seemed to help, and I noticed some inflammation on her leg. I kept her quiet the rest of the night and made an appointment to see the vet the next afternoon.

At The Veterinarian’s Office

Poor Mocca!

Poor Mocca!

First thing our vet asked me when she examined Mocca and got the history was if she was vaccinated for Lyme Disease. I was perplexed…Why was she asking me this when my dog was limping!? I said no, she wasn’t.

As it turns out, the vet explained that this is often one of the first signs of Lyme Disease, or other tick born diseases in dogs. A quick blood test verified Lyme Disease and another tick disease, Ehrlichiosis! I was quite anxious at first, worried about long- term effects, but the vet said if we caught it early normally there are no effects. Mocca was started on a course of antibiotics ( Doxycycline ) right away. Within 2 days, she was feeling 100% better, and we even went to agility practice later in the week.

We will continue to finish the antibiotics, and after she is through with them, the vet suggested getting a Lyme vaccine, which we will be doing straight away!

This just goes to show how very important those once a year visits to the vet are for Heartworm testing – that test also reveals several tick born diseases such as Lyme and Ehrlichiosis. Even though I treat Mocca year round for Heartworm, I still have her tested each year, and here is a great reason! If her symptoms had not shown up until later, at least it would have been caught at her yearly exam.

Vaccinating for Lyme is a decision for each person. It is heavy in our area, so I will vaccinate from now on. Ask your vet for his advice and do what you find necessary.

As for Mocca – we’re off to our next competition in a few weeks and hope to get that Title in Open Jumpers!

Read more about Lyme Disease here.

Read more about Ehrlichiosis here.

About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dog Breeds October 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Lyme disease is a lot more common than people might think. It is one of the most prevalent vector borne illnesses.

I myself, even had lyme disease!

Melissa October 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Yes indeed! After talking to various friends with dogs, it turned out several of them had a dog with Lyme Disease at one point or another and I was very surprised.

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