Understanding the symptoms of Lyme disease

Understanding the symptoms of Lyme disease

The symptoms of Lyme disease can be tricky to notice in both dogs and humans, since they’re similar to those associated with other common ailments. Here’s what to watch for – and when to be concerned.

As many of you know firsthand, ticks are creepy crawlers that feast on the blood of humans, companion animals, and other mammals. As ticks continue to spread across North America, it’s important to educate yourself on the symptoms of Lyme disease – the most common infectious disease spread by ticks. Let’s take a look at some of the primary indications that you or your dog might be infected.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs

The most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy
  • Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
  • Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
  • Swelling of joints

If your dog displays one or more of these symptoms, and you suspect he might have been bitten by a tick, make an appointment with your vet.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans

In humans, it’s extremely difficult to recognize the initial symptoms of Lyme disease. In fact, many people dismiss these signs – which often include a sore throat, headaches, congestion, achy joints, etc. – as symptoms of a cold or flu. Chances are, you really do have one of these common ailments. However, if you recognize any of the following signs in addition to the ones mentioned above, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner.

Head, face and neck

  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Seizures
  • Twitching, tingling or paralysis in the face
  • Stiff or painful neck or jaw


  • Double or blurry vision
  • Increased floating spots
  • Pain or swelling in or around eyes
  • Oversensitivity to light


  • Difficulty hearing out of one or both ears
  • Buzzing in ears
  • Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
  • Ringing in one or both ears

Digestive and excretory systems

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bladder
  • Upset stomach (nausea or pain)

Musculoskeletal system

  • Pain or swelling in bones or joints
  • Stiffness of joints
  • Muscle pain or cramps

Respiratory and circulatory systems

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or rib soreness
  • Night sweats or unexplained chills
  • Heart palpitations

Neurologic system

  • Tremors or unexplained shaking
  • Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
  • Fatigue, weakness or partial paralysis
  • Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
  • Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking

Psychological well-being

  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Unusual depression
  • Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
  • Too much sleep, or insomnia
  • Panic attacks, anxiety

Mental capability

  • Memory loss (short or long term)
  • Confusion, difficulty thinking
  • Difficulty with concentration or reading
  • Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)

Reproduction and sexuality

  • Loss of sex drive
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Unexplained menstrual pain, irregularity
  • Unexplained breast pain, discharge
  • Testicular or pelvic pain

General well-being

  • Phantom smells
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Swollen glands or lymph nodes
  • Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
  • Low body temperature
  • Allergies or chemical sensitivities

Visit canlyme.com for the full list.

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