A few weeks after a short stay at a dog kennel more than two years ago, Kathleen Drew’s 6-year-old golden retriever Cody stopped eating. The dog’s veterinarian suggested changing her diet and adding hamburgers into the mix to entice her.
As the dog started to lose weight, the vet suspected a urinary tract infection, treating that with an antibiotic. Vets at a local animal hospital who were consulted suggested problems with Cody’s kidneys. But tests and ultrasounds weren’t conclusive.
When Cody suddenly became very ill two months later, the family rushed the dog to the animal hospital, where vets hooked her up to IVs, ran more tests and injected her with antibiotics. None of it helped. The dog had developed severe kidney failure and soon died.
Only after an autopsy did the vets identify the culprit: Lyme disease, which can be particularly deadly to some dogs.
“The vets were as surprised as can be,” Drew said in a recent interview. “At the time, Lyme disease was just not something people thought about.”
Most recover, but some don’t
With its bull’s-eye rash, achy joints and flulike symptoms, Lyme is a concern for humans. Most dogs exposed to the disease show no signs of infection and recover on their own. But a small percentage run fevers, become lame, lose their appetite or, in rare instances, die. And some of America’s favorite breeds — golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers — seem to be particularly at risk.
“Lyme disease can b