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Published: Jun 07, 2012

With summer coming up, dog owners should be sure to educate themselves on one of the most common summer threats to dogs: Lyme disease. All canines love to play outside, but owners should be aware of harmful ticks on dogs that can spread this disease. It's important that owners know what to look for in case they suspect their dog has Lyme disease.

Obviously, check your dog for ticks every time it comes back from outdoor play, especially if it was in tall grass or deep woods. Removing ticks from dogs can be done with a pair of tweezers. Unfortunately, even vigilant owners may not be able to spot every tick, but a thorough comb-through of your pets' fur can make a big difference.

Lyme disease in dogs can be difficult to spot. There's usually no visual component to the disease, like a rash or clear bite mark from the tick. Most dogs with Lyme disease are initially brought in to a veterinarian due to general lethargy. It's also quite common for the dog to be suffering from a lack of appetite, fever, lameness or a very stiff gait. Since these are very common clinical signs, Lyme disease may not be the first potential problem that comes to mind.

Once a dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, the issue can be treated with antibiotics, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Owners should know, however, that the course of treatment is lengthy. Often it takes months before the pet is feeling 100 percent again.