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Advanced Lyme Disease In Dogs


Lyme Disease From Nymphs

I Cured My Dog of Lyme’s Disease

Come fall, larvae grow to poppy seed sized nymphs.

Nymphs remain inactive throughout the winter and early spring. In late spring, the nymph will begin looking for a host.

Once a nymph finds a host, it will latch on for four or five days. It will engorge with blood and swell to several times its original size.

If infected in the larval stage, the nymph may give Lyme disease to its host.

If the nymph was not infected as a larva but the host is, the nymph will become a carrier.

Up to 25% of nymphs carry the Lyme disease spirochete in endemic areas of the northeast and upper midwest.

Like tick larvae, nymphs prefer small mammals and birds but

your pet can be a suitable substitute.

They are also the most dangerous.

To give Lyme disease to your dog, ticks must feed for 24 to 36 hours.

Because nymphs are so small, they often go unnoticed until theyre engorged. This makes the nymph most likely to spread Lyme disease.

In fact, all human cases of Lyme disease come from infected nymphs.

Once engorged, the nymph will drop off its host and molt into an adult in the comfort of fallen leaves.

How Much On Average Does It Cost To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs

The cost of Lyme disease treatment in dogs can vary by a number of factors, including where you live. From there, Dr. Muller says, The costs often depend on the treatment duration. A four-week antibiotic course might cost around $800, plus the cost of the diagnostic blood tests may approximately be an additional $80 to $200 depending on the type of tests, in addition to the vet consultation fees. Add in the cost of your dogs prescription medications, and that can be costly for many pet parents. Having pet insurance can help cover these crucial veterinary expenses in a big way. That said, while Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers tick infections and tick-borne diseases like Lyme, not all pet insurance providers will. In addition to discussing your treatment options with your veterinarian, make sure to check with your insurance provider to see what conditions are covered.

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:

  • Lameness

  • 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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Can Lyme Disease Be Cured In Dogs

The good news about Lyme disease in dogs is that it can be cured. Because Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium thats passed from ticks to your dog, it can be treated with antibiotics. In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated with 4 weeks of antibiotics, but some dogs may require additional treatment.

In addition to using antibiotics to get rid of Lyme disease, your vet may also recommend treatment for the complications caused by Lyme disease. In chronic cases of Lyme in dogs where the heart, kidneys, and nervous system have been affected, your vet may recommend long-term treatment to help provide relief from Lyme complications.

How Long Does It Take For Lyme Disease To Present Symptoms

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Once infected with the bacteria, your dog will take two to five months to start displaying any symptoms of Lyme disease. This is the stage where bacteria is present in the body but not actively causing symptoms. Because of this, there can be quite a long gap in between the tick bite and the first signs.

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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:

  • Fever
  • 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.

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.

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How Do You Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs

To prevent Lyme disease in dogs, try to avoid tick-infested areas, especially during peak season. When you come in from the outdoors, check your dogs body and carefully remove any ticks with tweezers.

Year-round tick control helps in prevention. You can also ask your vet about tick-preventive products. These products kill ticks on your dogs body before they have a chance to spread an infection. Vaccines can also help prevent Lyme disease in dogs, but vets warn against them unless you live in an area that is prone to ticks.

Prevent Lyme Disease In Your Dog

Dog dies just minutes after receiving vaccination for lyme disease

PetMD is one of the largest and most used veterinary sites in the world. It discusses how to prevent Lyme disease by using toxic sprays and chemicals, as well as vaccines.

Most conventional vets also advocate this approach.

But if Lyme progresses into more than flu-like symptoms only when cofactors are present then isnt stressing the immune system backwards thinking? And dangerous for our dogs?

You know that Lyme disease only progresses to a harmful stage if dogs arent healthy, right? So how do vaccines and chemicals make dogs healthier?

Lets look at the list of cofactors again but this time lets consider the roll of vaccines

  • Chronic inflammation vaccines are well known to cause chronic inflammation and auto-immune disease
  • Immune suppression we know vaccines to suppress the immune system after administration
  • Coinfections of other viruses well, thats what they designed vaccines o do deliver a small amount of virus into the body
  • Heavy metals and toxins vaccines contain aluminum, thimerosal, formaldehyde and other dangerous toxins

Not to mention the side effects of conventional solutions such as

  • sprays

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Lyme Affects Some Breeds Worse Than Others

There are a couple of notable exceptions to that rule: Labradors and golden retrievers.

There is a deadly manifestation of Lyme disease in dogs, called Lyme nephritis. It’s a fatal side effect that causes the animal’s kidney to fail, and researchers have a strong suspicion that labs and golden retrievers are predisposed. And because of this, both vets we spoke to agreed that any dogs of these two breeds who test positive for Lyme should be treated with Doxycycline immediately.

Arthritis Caused By Lyme Disease

There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma and degenerative joint disease.

Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. X-rays of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.

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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are a few blood tests that may be used for confirmation. The first is an antibody test, that your veterinarian can perform in the clinic setting using a special test kit. This test detects the presence of antibodies created by exposure to the organism. A test can be falsely negative if the dog is infected, but has not yet formed antibodies, or if it never forms enough antibodies to cause a positive reaction. It is recommended to test no earlier than 4 weeks after a tick bite. Some dogs that have been infected for long periods of time may no longer have enough antibodies present to be detected by the test. Therefore, a positive test is meaningful, but a negative is not. A follow up test called a QC6 test can be done to assess the numerical antibody level as confirmation.

Other tests including PCR , ELISA , joint fluid analysis, and culture can also be done with varying degrees of sensitivity, but are done less commonly. General blood and urine tests are also often done to assess kidney function and look for loss of protein in the urine. See handout Testing for Lyme Disease in Dogs for further information.

In Dogs Treatment Acts Fact

CLINICAL SIGNS  Lyme Disease in You and Your Pets

If youve ever known anyone whos contracted Lyme disease, then you probably know that treatment can be a long and complicated process in humans. Thankfully, in dogs, its much simpler.

Generally, and this is I think a big difference between dogs and people, within a couple of days of starting treatment with Doxycycline, they usually go into remission, Bloom tells CBS News. And pretty much by the second day of Doxycycline, they feel so much better. They act normally. They have no more fever. They start to eat again and they get better.

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Lyme Disease From Tick Larvae

Ticks arent born with Lyme Disease. They too get it from another living organism.

In the spring, ticks lay their eggs. By late summer the larvae hatch and are ready to feed.

They wait on the ground for a small mammal or bird to arrive and brush up against it.

The larva will attach itself to the small animal and begin feeding over the next few days. If this animal has Lyme disease, the larva will carry the bacterium in its stomach.

Mice and ground-feeding birds often serve as spirochete hosts.

When the tick attaches to its next host, the bacterium transfers into the blood of the new host.

Larvae are very hard to detect as they are no larger than a period in a print magazine.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Lyme Disease

Ticks are small and hard to spot, which means your dog can easily come into contact with Lyme disease without you noticing. If you observe any of the following, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian:

  • Fever
  • Lameness in one or more limbs or joints
  • Stiffness or difficulty walking
  • Visible swelling around the joints
  • Dog behavior changes

Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics that should clear up the infection within a month. Some dogs will need a longer course to beat Lyme disease. Without medical intervention, Lyme disease can get progressively worse, and in some cases, could even become fatal.

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How Is Canine Lyme Disease Treated And Prevented

Because Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, once an animal has been examined and tested positive. The antibiotic of choice for canines is doxycycline. Treatment lasts for up to 4 weeks.

The Cabbagetown Pet Clinic offers a comprehensive Cabbagetown Care Program, which includes a canine Lyme vaccination. This is the only way to assure dogs in endemic and expansion areas, such as Toronto, are protected.

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Does Lyme Disease Treatment With Antibiotics Affect Antibody Levels

Antibiotic treatment affects the pathogen . It does not directly influence antibody titers. However, if the treatment is successful and bacteria are removed from the host, the B-cells are not further triggered to produce new antibodies. As a consequence antibodies levels decrease after treatment. Thus, antibody levels are indicators of treatment success .

What Is The Prevalence Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

Lyme disease occurs throughout the United States, but it’s much more common in certain parts of the country. The disease’s distribution is thought to be similar for humans and dogs.

In humans, the majority of Lyme disease cases occur in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country, with 14 states accounting for more than 96 percent of the Lyme disease cases reported to the CDC.

The exact prevalence of Lyme disease in dogs is difficult to determine.

In endemic areas, some 70 to 90 percent of dogs test positive for Borrelia burgdorferi infection, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine .

Yet 95 percent of dogs infected with the bacteria remain asymptomatic and don’t develop Lyme disease.

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Lyme Disease In Pets Symptoms And Treatment

Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Joint swelling

Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.

Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.

Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.

Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, its important to follow your veterinarians advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for the disease.

Where Are Ticks With Lyme Disease Commonly Found

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We mentioned earlier that only certain types of ticks carry Lyme disease. If you live in certain regions, you may not have to worry much about Lyme disease. The ticks that most often spread Lyme disease are known as blacklegged ticks or deer ticks. The western blacklegged tick can also spread Lyme.

Here are the regions where ticks are most commonly found in the United States2:

  • The Northeast
  • The Upper Midwest
  • The Pacific Coast

Blacklegged ticks are typically found in the northeast part of the United States as well as the northern part of the central United States and the mid-Atlantic region. Western blacklegged ticks are typically found on the Pacific Coast, which means there are ticks in several US regions that can spread Lyme disease.

Even if a tick cant spread Lyme disease, it may be carrying other diseases. Plus, tick bites can cause skin irritation in dogs, so treating your dog for fleas and ticks is an important part of keeping them healthy.

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Whats The Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs

Antibiotics for Lyme disease in dogs are often required when testing shows a positive result. Typically, at least a four-week course of treatment is given. Options include doxycycline, amoxicillin and cefovecin. All are powerful antibiotics and should be given according to your veterinarians instructions. Sometimes treatment is required for longer than four weeks.

Unlike for humans, there is a Lyme vaccine for dogs. Its a preventive measure and not a cure or treatment. While some pet parents have reported a reaction to the Lyme disease vaccine in their dogs, reactions are rare and it is a great option for any dog who is at risk, especially active dogs who are frequently outdoors in high-risk areas.

Antibiotics are currently the only treatment, but they dont always get rid of the disease completely. There is no guaranteed cure for Lyme disease in dogs, and as we discussed above, your dog may display recurring symptoms that may need to be managed with other medications or remedies.

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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What Is Lyme Disease In Dogs

Lyme disease is also referred to as Lyme borreliosis, a bacterial illness that certain species of infected ticks can transmit to humans, dogs and other animals.

Since ticks dont fly or jump, they make contact with their host by lurking on the tips of long grass or bush, then quickly grabbing onto your dog when he walks by. He then crawls on to his body to look for a place to bite.

An infected tick carries the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, then bites a dog or person, transmitting the virus through the bloodstream.

Once its entered the bloodstream, the bacteria can reach different parts of the body and result in problems with specific areas or organs, including joints, as well as general illness. The disease can be transmitted after a tick has been attached to a dog for 24 to 48 hours.