Back

Get started

Customized by You

Design your pet’s plan in less than 60 seconds.

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Positive Lyme test without symptoms

Q: Barney, my 5-year-old terrier mix, tested positive for Lyme disease. He has never been sick, and his physical exam and the rest of his lab work (blood and urine) were normal.

My veterinarian recommends we start Barney on a tick preventive and have him vaccinated against Lyme, but she says he doesn’t need an antibiotic. Am I wrong to want him to have an antibiotic?

A: The blood test for Lyme disease measures antibodies to Lyme bacteria. A positive test indicates Barney was exposed and that he mounted an immune response by producing antibodies, but it doesn’t mean he has Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is characterized by a sudden onset of lameness that shifts from one leg to another, loss of energy and loss of appetite. A dog with Lyme disease usually has a fever and may lose protein through the kidneys.

For these dogs, an antibiotic such as doxycycline is warranted. In dogs that have been exposed but are not sick, an antibiotic may do more harm than good. However, tick prevention is recommended to decrease exposure in the future.

To guide veterinarians in making treatment decisions for dogs like Barney, Lyme disease experts examined all relevant research and last year updated the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine’s Lyme consensus statement.

Editor’s Note: Lyme disease prevention month in May is a great time for a refresher on prevention. Here are five facts about Lyme disease in dogs you may not know.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Q: I saw someone in my...

Q: When I donated...

Hot Car Pet Safety Tips & What You Need To Know

You and your furry friend have been...

Q: Victor, our 8-year-...

More From Figo Blog
Pet Professionals: Interview With Kristen Levine Pet Blogger | Figo Pet Insurance

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

It can seem overwhelming, but there are a...

It takes hard work and a diverse skill set...

Sometimes, we think of cats as needing less...

Each year, heartworm affects millions of...

Summer is here! Which means vacations,...

Bulldog walking on pavement in the shade

Q: Can hot pavement burn my...

While daily exercise is vital for Fido to...

HELP