Can a Puppy Get Lyme Disease From Mother's Milk?

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Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. It can cause many symptoms including joint pain and inflammation, depression, poor appetite and sometimes kidney or heart damage. This illness is not limited to dogs and can infect other mammals such as humans, squirrels and deer. In the United States the only proven way to get Lyme disease is from the bite of the blacklegged tick, commonly called the deer tick.


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Although Borrelia burgdorferi has been found in breast milk in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control there has never been a single report of the transmission of the disease through breast milk. The only way to get Lyme is from the bite of an infected tick. The single exception to this rule is that Lyme can pass through the placenta if the mother has the disease and cause the death of the unborn in humans and animals. Puppies cannot get it from nursing, but it is possible for them to be exposed if their mother brings home an infected tick that ends up biting the pups.


By Cindy Quarters

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Lyme Disease Transmission
Pet MD: Lyme Disease in Dogs
Lyme Disease Association, Inc.: What is Lyme Disease


About the Author
A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.