By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Not long ago, Emily Cottle saw a problem with her dog Coda.

“I noticed him limping, so we brought him in and tested him and he had Lyme disease,” she said.

Coda enjoys a good visit to a dog park and a romp outdoors, but Cottle says she never saw a tick.

“No, and I was using flea and tick products,” she said.

Coda’s veterinarian, Hisham Ibrahim of Good Shepard Veterinary Hospital, says Lyme disease has been a growing issue since the practice opened six years ago.

“As of last Friday, we have about 65 positive dogs for Lyme disease,” he said.

Besides swollen joints, fevers and limping, if left untreated, Lyme disease will shut down the kidneys and will shut down the heart – which would kill the dog.

While an infected dog can’t give the disease to humans, “yes, I’ve seen not only an increase in primary Lyme disease, but also in complicated Lyme disease,” said Lyme disease specialist Fotios Koumpouras.

Human cases are also on the rise and deliver flu-like symptoms to neurological issues. But Lyme disease is very treatable in both humans and pets if caught early.

If you find a tick on your dog and can remove it with the head still attached, that’s a good thing, but if the head isn’t attached, that’s a problem because it will cause an abscess.

If the head remains buried in the skin, get the dog to a vet, or yourself to a doctor to get it removed.

Make sure your pets, especially outside dogs and cats, are treated and vaccinated for this because it is expanding.

Traditional treatments and a vaccine give your dog the best protection against Lyme disease.

“Now that he’s under treatment, he has no signs of Lyme disease,” Cottle said of Coda.

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