How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog
If you find a tick on your dog, pull it off either using a tick remover tool or you can just use your hands and a tissue. You want to avoid any twisting or crushing, as this may force material out of the tick and into the bite wound.
Gently clean the area with soap and water and see your vet if it appears inflamed, swollen, infected, or concerning in any way. Avoid applying any ointments or oils to the area, as these can actually seal in any bacteria that tick may have been carrying.
For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted
Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.
However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.
What A Positive Lyme Disease Test Really Means
A positive Lyme test only indicates that your dog has antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferii . This is the bacterium associated with Lyme disease.
It means your dog got exposed and mounted an immune response! It doesnt mean your dog is sick with Lyme disease.
The dirty little secret is that Lyme-positive dogs rarely show any signs of illness. Researchers havent even been able to create illness by infecting dogs in the lab!
So there seems to be much ado about nothing when it comes to Lyme disease in dogs.
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Prevention Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Monthly tick prevention is very important if you live in an endemic area. There are several oral and topical prescription tick preventions that your vet can prescribe for your pets. There is also a Lyme vaccine that is recommended for dogs in endemic areas or those who hunt or spend a lot of time outdoors and in nature. This is an annual vaccine that your regular vet will carry.
The Homeopathic View Of Lyme Disease
A well-known homeopath, Ron Whitmont MD, published an article on homeopathy and Lyme disease. It shows the great potential of dealing with this problem without resorting to drugs .
He first states that Lyme disease in humans has three stages. Lets look at the difference in the way Lyme progresses in humans compared to dogs
Stage 1 Early localized disease first 1-2 weeks. The famous bulls eye skin rash appears during this time.
Stage 2 Early disseminated disease from 3 weeks to several months. Polyarthritis, fibromyalgia-like symptoms, and less commonly kidney, neurologic and other deeper symptoms
Stage 3 Late chronic disease from ten months to several years. Humans develop more severe arthritis and neurologic, cardiac, and kidney diseases. This are also usually progressive.
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What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Like other dog health issues, there are a few factors that determine your pets prognosis. The prognosis depends on the time of detection of the disease, Dr. Muller says. In the case of early treatment without manifest symptoms, the prognosis is good. However, if clinical symptoms are already present that have caused damage to the kidneys, heart, and nervous system, then the prognosis is poor.
What Are Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
When it comes to Lyme disease, dogs are often asymptomatic . However, here are some common signs of Lyme disease in dogs:
- Lack of appetite and depression
- General discomfort or malaise
- Lameness due to inflamed joints
- Sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog is displaying symptoms of Lyme disease, contact your vet to schedule an examination. Left untreated, signs of Lyme disease in dogs can progress to kidney failure and even be fatal in severe cases. Serious neurological impacts and cardiac effects may also take place due to untreated Lyme disease.
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How Lyme Infection Works
The primary organism that causes Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi, is evolving rapidly into many different species and strains trying to evade attack by antibiotics.
On top of that, several organisms can work synergistically to create the disease. Most of these organisms are difficult to detect with blood tests.
These latent forms often dont show up on tests, even though they still create havoc in the body.
Symptoms can come and go as well, moving about the body.
Lyme disease can take several different courses of disease once it enters the body of a human or animal.
Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
The symptoms of Lyme disease vary. While many dogs infected with Lyme disease may not exhibit any symptoms, others may show severe signs, including:
Bruising or unexplained bleeding
Lameness, painful or swollen joints, fever, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, and lethargy are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and can range in severity. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more serious symptoms, like damage to the kidney or the heart and nervous system.
Lyme disease commonly affects the kidneys more than the nervous system or heart. Unfortunately, it is often fatal. In cases of Lyme disease that affect the nervous system, seizure disorders and facial paralysis can occur.
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How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Lyme Disease
Here’s the thing, even if a dog has been infected, the dog may not show any symptoms at all.
If a dog does show symptoms, usually the symptoms show up two to five months after the tick bite.
Unlike in people where the classic symptom is a red, “bull’s eye” rash, dogs don’t develop such a rash.
Instead, one classic canine Lyme disease symptom is the sudden onset of lameness, and quite often, that’s the only symptom. You will notice that one or more of your dog’s joints has become swollen and painful to the touch. The dog will limp, and may walk hunched over. The lameness may last for only a few days, although in some cases it may last longer or recur for months.
Other symptoms that an infected dog may develop include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Lethargy and weakness
- Loss of appetite
In more serious cases, an infected dog may develop severe kidney disease leading to kidney failure. In rare cases, the heart or the nervous system may also be affected. Understandably, these problems are more difficult to treat and can be fatal.
How Is Lyme Disease In Dogs Diagnosed
Your veterinarian will assess your dogs symptoms, give them a physical, and typically also do bloodwork to determine their diagnosis. Bloodwork is necessary to confirm a Lyme diagnosis because many symptoms of Lyme disease can be mistaken for any number of other conditions.
Lyme disease in dogs is diagnosed through a blood test, Dr. Margit Muller, veterinarian and , tells Pumpkin. She further explains, This test detects the presence of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria strain that causes Lyme disease.
A combination of two blood tests is typically done: the C6 Test and the Quant C6 Test. The C6 Test detects antibodies, and is a preliminary blood test that can be run in most veterinary hospitals. If that test is positive, then a secondary test, the Quant C6 test, can be run to confirm infection and if treatment is needed. It takes a while for antibodies to show up in the blood after a dog is infected, so it is not recommended to test dogs earlier than four weeks after a tick bite.
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Can A Dog Be Reinfected With Lyme Disease
It is not possible to revirus a dog from having acquired Lyme disease even if it has been infected they can develop prolonged, protective immunity later. If you want to avoid future infections, talk with your veterinarian. Your dog may receive antbite prevention from ticks infected with Lyme disease as well asLyme vaccination when the ticks are present in its mouth.
How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease
Like humans, dogs can contract Lyme disease from ticks, specifically the deer tick, which carry the bacteria that causes the disease. The American Kennel Club notes that the ticks most likely to carry Lyme disease are typically found in forests and woods , marshes, tall grass, and areas with thick brush. In terms of geographical locations, ticks carrying Lyme have been expanding their reach across the United States in recent years, but are most prevalent in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest regions.
Dr. Sarah Wooten, veterinarian and American Society of Veterinary Journalists member, tells Pumpkin, When your dog spends time in the woods, marshes, grass, or bushy areas without adequate tick protection on board, these monstrous little bugs can latch on and bite. Those bites can transmit bacteria into your dogs bloodstream that cause Lyme disease, and thats when we have a real problem.
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Treatment Of Lyme Borreliosis In Animals
A long course of antibiotics is indicated to treat infection in clinically ill animals
Symptomatic therapy should be directed toward the affected organ system and toward pain management
Immunosuppressive therapy is indicated in the case of infection-related autoimmune reactions
Some animals may remain seropositive after successful treatment
Antibiotic therapy is indicated in all animals with clinical signs attributed to Lyme borreliosis. Treatment of healthy seropositive animals is problematic because of the inability to monitor response to treatment and the potential for adverse drug effects. Antimicrobials in the tetracycline and beta-lactam families have been shown to be effective in treating Lyme borreliosis in dogs and horses. A long course of antibiotics is indicated. Chronic infection in dogs and horses is not well documented, so the utility or efficacy of treatment beyond 4 weeks is unknown. Symptomatic therapy directed toward the affected organ system and clinicopathologic abnormalities is also important.
Quantitative C6 antibody assays are sometimes performed before and after treatment to monitor response to therapy, although titers do not always decrease after treatment, and some animals remain seropositive. Successful treatment is therefore focused on the resolution of clinical signs rather than serologic data. An increased titer after treatment may represent a relapse or reinfection.
How Do I Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
After your dog walks through areas with long grass or thick underbrush where ticks might be hiding, it is a good idea to check them for ticks. Removing ticks can be a tricky process, if you spot a tick on your dog, contact your vet for detailed instructions.
Lyme disease is much more serious in humans than dogs, so it is doubly important that you check yourself for ticks too.
You dog cannot give you Lyme disease, they are not a risk to you or your family. However, if they bring an infected tick into your home, it might be able to transmit the disease to you.
Finally, make sure you follow good tick prevention practices all year long. Avoid areas with tall grass or brushing through undergrowth. Ask your vet about vaccinating your dog against Lyme and check your dog for ticks every time you take them outside.
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Is There A Lyme Disease Vaccine
Vaccinations for Lyme disease are available for dogs, but controversial1,3-4. Vaccination works by training the immune system to recognize illness-causing agents in the body. This allows the body to quickly flag , attack, and eliminate the threat before it has a chance to cause illness.
With Lyme disease in dogs, the concern is that the renal form is likely caused by those antibodies bound to antigens getting into the kidneys, and vaccination may increase the risk of developing the condition2-4. There are no good studies right now to clarify this issue.
If youre considering getting your dog a Lyme vaccination, discuss it with your veterinarian, as your pups individual health and local Lyme disease burden will help you both to make a decision3.
Colleen Ferriman, DVM, is a canine and feline health, wellness, and illness management advocate. She has a combined 10 years of experience in clinical medicine, education, and educational content development. Colleen graduated from Colorado State University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has worked as a general practitioner, and has contributed to the development of veterinary educational tools. She is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
1Cote E: Borreliosis. Clinical Veterinary Advisor Dogs and Cats, 2nd ed. St. Louis, Elsevier Mosby 2011 pp. 146-147.
2Rathrock K: Lyme Disease . VINcyclopedia of Diseases 2019.
Can I Give My Dog Lyme Disease Or Vice Versa
You cant give your dog Lyme disease, nor can your dog infect you. However, if either one of you has a tick, you should both be checked out by a medical professional. Its entirely possible that the tick may have traveled from your body to your dogs, or vice versa, without you realizing it. If you have an open wound, there is alsoa slight chance that the bacteria from the tick can pass through it, so make sure to be extra vigilant to keep yourself safe in those cases.
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Renal Form Of Lyme Disease
The renal form is less common, but very serious because it causes protein-losing glomerulonephritis2-3. This means the kidneys, which usually act as a filter to keep the good and get rid of the bad, become inflamed and cant do their job as well. As a result, the body loses valuable proteins it needs to function appropriately.
While we dont understand the exact cause of the renal form of Lyme disease in dogs, we believe immune complexes depositing in the kidney2-3 are to blame. Symptoms include:
- Not eating 2-3
- Swelling of legs 2
- Free fluid in chest or abdomen 1-2
- Difficulty breathing 1
Dogs with this condition are often quite ill and require hospitalization to treat acute renal failure, and most unfortunately dont survive2. Lyme disease has reportedly caused cardiac , neurologic , and dermatologic disease, but it isnt well-documented and quite rare2-3.
Is Lyme Disease Fatal In Dogs
6. Lyme Disease Can Be Fatal.
Although it does not occur commonly in dogs, Lyme Disease can cause kidney failure and death in severe cases.
The most common sign of Lyme Disease in dogs is arthritis, which causes sudden lameness, pain ands sometimes swelling in one or more joints.
How is canine Lyme disease treated? The clinical signs of Lyme disease are treated with antibiotics, and often the symptoms will resolve within 3 days of therapy. A tetracycline antibiotic called doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is used to treat Lyme disease.
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Topic 1b: Geographic Distribution And Epidemiology Of Bb Infection
Prevalence estimates of LB in dogs are hindered by a lack of demonstrative clinical signs and no national surveillance system for companion animal diseases. However, screening tests for Bb antibodies are widely used, and estimated canine Bb seroprevalence data at the US state and county and Canadian province and territory levels are available based on input from commercial diagnostic laboratories through the Companion Animal Parasite Council . Lyme disease in humans has been a notifiable disease in the US for many years although not every case is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and surveillance summaries lag behind disease reporting. Underreporting of cases in humans is more likely in highly endemic areas, whereas misclassification is more likely in nonendemic areas. The same may be true for dogs. Travel history of sick or seropositive dogs is an important historical question because cases in nonendemic areas may occur after travel to or importation from endemic disease areas.
Ledum Used For Lyme Disease
A popular homeopathic medicine used for Lyme disease is Ledum palustre, made from wild rosemary. Most protocols use 200C or 1M potencies once or twice daily for 3 days after known tick exposure.
Any remedy that can cause symptoms similar to a disease may also be a good preventative for that same illness.
Its easy to see the similarity between Ledum and then symptoms of Lyme disease by reading a Materia Medica. Materia Medica is the reference homeopaths use to study remedies and their associated symptoms.
Here are a few symptoms for Ledum from Lippe, Red Line and Keynote Symptoms:
- Adapted to rheumatic or gouty diathesis or constitution
- Painful knots on joints
- Hot swelling of painful joints
- Acute and chronic arthritis
- Stings of insects
- Sleeplessness restlessness tossing about
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What To Expect At Home
Home care for dogs with Lyme disease is relatively straightforward. Doxycycline is usually given by mouth twice daily for at least 30 days. Improvement in the dogs symptoms should be noted within 24-48 hours. If the dogs condition fails to improve in 72 hours or worsens at any time, call your veterinarian.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed In Dogs
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because the signs are nonspecific and can mimic other diseases, like autoimmune diseases or bacterial infections. Veterinarians diagnose Lyme disease by considering the dogs history, their exposure to ticks, whether the dog has been in an area affected by Lyme disease, physical examination findings, laboratory testing and response to therapy.
So, what does that all mean?
If your vet suspects your dog has Lyme disease, be prepared for testing and a bit of trial and error, because Lyme can be tricky! Since routine lab work is usually normal unless the kidneys are affected, additional testing can include joint taps , testing samples of swollen lymph nodes, testing for antibodies and X-rays to evaluate joints.
Here is where it gets complicated:
- You can test for Borrelia with specific antibody tests. However, if a dog tests positive for Borrelia, that doesnt necessarily mean that dog has Lyme diseaseit only means the dog has been exposed to Borrelia. If your dog tests positive, your vet can run a follow-up test called QC6 to confirm the infection.
- A dog can have Lyme disease, but if you test too early, antibodies would not have had time to form, causing the test to be falsely negative.
- Some dogs are tested too long after they were infected with Lyme and no longer have antibodies, which can also cause a test to be falsely negative.
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