Reasons You Should Take Lyme Disease Seriously
Youre looking forward to a trip to the park with your canine companion. The weather is perfect, and your dog is staring at you, eagerly waiting to get out. Before leaving the house, keep in mind that, depending on where you live, both of you could be at risk of contracting Lyme disease.
Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause pain, discomfort, and potentially life-threatening symptoms for your dog. This doesnt mean you both have to be hermits, but you should be aware of the risks of Lyme disease and work to take preventive measures.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is through strict adherence to tick control and yearly Lyme vaccination, says Dr. Beth Poulsen, a veterinarian at Lodi Veterinary Care in Lodi, Wisconsin. Each can play an important role in protecting dogs from Lyme disease.
The following are some key reasons why you should take Lyme disease seriously.
Dog Lyme Disease Test
The Serology test looks for enzymes in the blood associated withLyme disease. The problem is that there are two types of vaccines. The ELISA test can tell if yourdog has the disease only if it has not been vaccinated or it if had thesubunit vaccine. If your pet had the whole cell the test cannot tell ifyour dog has the disease or a reaction to the vaccination itself.
A newer test called the Canine SNAP 3Dx or the C6 SNAP test. It isdone in your Veterinarians office and if positive a follow-up test isdone and sent to a lab to confirm the findings.
Vets Don’t Always Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
It may seem counterintuitive, but a Lyme diagnosis for your pet doesn’t always mean that the vet is going to treat your pet with antibiotics.
“When we find a dog that’s positive on a SNAP test for Lyme disease, then we have a conversation with the owners about whether to treat that dog or not,” explains Bloom, who says he talks about Lyme with pet owners in his area three to five times a day. “You know, it’s unfortunately a very complicated subject and we don’t have a great understanding of it. There are not enough studies that have been done to really explain it for us. But in general, if a dog tests positive and doesn’t show any clinical signs of Lyme disease which would be specifically fever, lethargy, inappetence, and stiffness in joints that can change from day to day, moving from one joint to another we typically leave them alone.”
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Recommendations For The Management Of Glomerular Disease In Dogs With Serologic Positive Test Resultsa1 Absent Clinical Or Other Evidence Supporting Active Disease In The Patient For An Infectious Agent Absent The Results Of A Renal Biopsy Or Before Obtaining Results Of A Renal Biopsy
Recommendation 1: Serology alone cannot confirm a causeâeffect relationship between an infectious agent and causation of glomerular disease. Nonetheless, a properly processed and evaluated renal biopsy may provide a basis for guiding decisions to intervene with immunotherapy. If results of a renal biopsy are not available to guide this decision, the cautious approach is to assume that there is a role for the infectious agent in the origin of glomerular injury until proven otherwise.
90% of voting consensus members agreed with Recommendation 1, and 55% of these voters expressed âstrong agreement.â
Recommendation 2: In serologically positive dogs with glomerular disease, Standard Treatment is recommended when the urine protein:creatinine ratio is persistent and â¥0.5.
86% of voting consensus members agreed with Recommendation 2, and 55% of these voters expressed âstrong agreement.â
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.
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Topic 4b: Treatment For Bbseropositive Dogs With Pln
For clinically stable seropositive dogs with mild changes of PLN recommendations include antimicrobial treatment, evaluation for evidence of other possible causes of proteinuria , and management of proteinuria, hypertension, and hypercoagulopathy based on established standardofcare guidelines including a reninangiotensinaldosterone system inhibitor blocker), antithrombotics, protein and phosphorusrestricted diets based on IRIS staging, omega3 fatty acids, and antihypertensives if needed., , For dogs with more severe, persistent, or progressive glomerular disease, or complications such as vomiting, dehydration, edema, effusions, or worsening azotemia, additional recommendations include antiemetics, crystalloids or colloids, aldosterone antagonist diuretics, phosphate binders, and treatments for chronic kidney disease as needed., , In addition, immunosuppressive agents are indicated if there is biopsyconfirmed evidence of an active immunemediated pathogenesis ,, or even without biopsy confirmation in nonresponders or those with rapid progression, severe azotemia or severe hypoalbuminemia ., ,
Topic 2b: European Considerations Bernese Mountain Dogs In Europe
In Europe, numerous serosurveys in dogs from different countries show a wide range of differences in seroprevalence. This is not surprising, considering the unequal distribution of ticks carrying Bbsl. Little information is available regarding clinical disease in dogs caused by these organisms in Europe. Most studies show no association of seropositivity with clinical signs., , , , One clinical study described 98 dogs with clinical signs possibly attributable to LB . Of these, 21 dogs were Bbslseropositive . In 13 of the 21 dogs, no other cause of illness was found after extensive diagnostic evaluation, indicating a relationship between Bbslseropositivity and disease. However in none of the 13 dogs could spirochetal DNA or viable spirochetes be detected.
Statement: It is not proven that European LB causes clinical signs in dogs .
Statement: Although not associated with illness, BMDs in central Europe are more often Bbslseropositive than other breeds .
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
There are three states of Lyme disease in dogs: acute, subacute, and chronic. Symptoms generally do not appear until after a two- to five-month incubation period, and can take even longer. Affected dogs may first shows signs of any of the three states, and may progress to others depending on the severity of infection, the dogs immune system, and treatment.
Symptoms of acute Lyme disease include fever, lethargy/reluctance to move, depression, fatigue, anorexia , pain, swollen lymph nodes, acute arthritis in one or more joints, swollen joints that may be warm to the touch, and a shifting lameness from one leg to another.
Symptoms of subacute Lyme disease incllude persistent lameness, ongoing inflammatory changes in the joints, and arthritis .
Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease include cardiac signs such as arrhythmias, neurologic signs, arthritis, and kidney damage.
In rare cases, kidney damage can escalate to Lyme nephritis, which is usually fatal. Signs of Lyme nephritis include anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, muscle wasting, lethargy, bad breath, azotemia , and edema . Golden and Labrador Retrievers seem to be predisposed to developing Lyme nephritis, so extra care should be taken with dogs of or mixed with these breeds if they contract Lyme disease.
How To Remove Ticks From Your Dog
When removinga tick from a dog be sure to grasp the tick by the head and pullfirmly straight from the dog. Dispose of the tick in a clear sealedcontainer and save the tick in case it needs to be tested for Lyme orother tick borne diseases. There are inexpensive tick removal toolssuch as a TickedOff that can be used to quickly and easily remove ticks.
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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease In Dogs:
“Cases of Lyme disease in dogs are caused by infected ticks that attach to a dog to feed for atleast 24 hours to several days. Once the tick attaches and feeds on the dog host, a spirochete or infectious agent moves from the tick’s gut to the salivary gland, where it is then passed into the dog. Even if your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease, you and your family are not at risk of catching the disease from your dog.
At first, the bite will cause a skin infection. As the infection progresses it causes symptoms such as joint inflammation and in very rare cases liver and kidney disease . The bittendog limb is the first to show symptoms such as as lameness or limping. The “bull’s eye” rash seen in humans is not seen on dog skin.
Laboratory SNAP or ELISA tests are used to see if a dog has beenexposed, but does not prove that the dog has the disease. Dogs that test positive, but show nosymptoms, are not treated for the condition since most dogs remainasymptomatic. 95% of exposed dogs do not show any dog Lyme diseasesymptoms. In these cases tick control products that protect or repel tick attachment are prescribed.
If a dog shows symptoms, the prescription medicationDoxycycline is used for 1 month. Dogs with canine Lyme disease start toshow improvement in 1 to 2 days. Lyme Nephritis, a kidney disease, is generally fatal if left untreated.
So My Dog Is Positive Now What
The big question to ask yourself is whether or not your dog is showing symptoms for Lyme. Do they have a fever? Are they eating? Are they limping? Hows their energy level? If the answers to all of these are good and normal then your dog is what we call an asymptomatic positive. And now the can of worms opens. Im going to lay out what Ive found in my research for this article. BUT this is where that disclaimer at the top bears repeating. This is my opinion and, as with any disease, you need to consult with your veterinarian before deciding on any treatment course.
Onward. Lets hit the easy one first, your animal is positive for Lyme and has symptoms. They should, and will, be treated by your veterinarian. First choice antibiotics are doxycycline or amoxicillin. Typically dogs are treated for a month, though no one knows how long it takes to truly clear a dog of the carrier state . There is a second C6 test that tests for the same antibodies as the SNAP test but it quantifies the level of antibody present. There is some use in using this test in dogs receiving treatment as you can test before and after to see if antibody levels falling which may give you an idea of if the treatment is working .
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Topic 2c: Considerations In Cats
Cats living in Bbendemic areas are sometimes seropositive., , , , , Cats infested with I. scapularis containing Bb develop serum antibodies against the organism and DNA of Bb has been amplified from skin biopsy specimens taken from tick attachment sites., , Ticks removed from cats in endemic areas have been positive for Bb. These studies suggest that cats can be infected by Bb and that Ixodes spp. are the likely vectors for Bb in cats in the United States.
Cats experimentally infested with Ixodes spp. have not developed detectable clinical signs of disease, even if infested twice., , Cats in Bbendemic areas may have clinical signs potentially referable to Bb infection but to date, no published studies document the organism as the cause of illness. It is difficult to prove causation of illness associated with Bb in cats because Ixodes spp. also are the vector for A. phagocytophilum. Anaplasmosis has been documented in cats in 2 studies in a Bbendemic region., Clinical signs of anaplasmosis and borreliosis are similar to each other in dogs and people, and this may be the case for cats as well.
Statement: Although cats may be Bbseropositive, it is unknown if Bb infection causes illness in cats .
Where Latte Tells A Story About Charlie Lyme Disease And Laser Therapy
Charlie, as you can see is a golden retriever. The Golden Retriever has held the 3rd most popular breed in AKC history for many years running, just so you know. Charlie is 6 years old. She has had some sensitive issues in the past and finally my fearless leader found a food that did not make her vomit or have diarrhea. This is not a story about vomit or diarrhea thank goodness.
This is about Lyme disease. Lyme disease can take a number of forms I am told. It can impact joints, heart, the nervous system and the kidneys. We all know that Lyme is contracted from a tick bite. Golden retrievers get everything. They have high incidences of cancer, skin disorders, joint issues, and are more susceptible to Lyme Nephritis than other breeds.
In the following pictures you will see Charlie getting a laser treatment in the hopes of healing her kidneys. Charlie has Lyme Nephritis, the more rare, mostly fatal form of Lyme disease.
When the Lyme organism involves the kidneys there is a very complex cascade of reactions within the body that the veterinary profession has yet to elucidate. The insidious nature of this process is such that the damage to the kidneys is well on its way by the time the owner knows anything is wrong. In most cases of Lyme Nephritis the animal dies or is euthanized because he/she is so sick. On day 3 at Maine Veterinary Referral Center Dr. Wagner sent Charlie home with Dr. Sanders to spend her last 24-48 hours at home instead of in the hospital.
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Topic 1a: Update On Borrelia Spp And Associated Ticks
There are at least 52 Borrelia species, including 21 in the LB group , 29 in the relapsing fever group , and 2 undetermined members. In dogs residing in North America, LB has only been associated with B. burgdorferi sensu stricto , of which at least 30 subtypes or strains exist, based on outer surface protein C genotyping. The strains appear hostspecific different strains are more common in people as compared with dogs., In Europe, coinfections of Bb with other Bbsl strains may predispose dogs to illness. Other Bbsl species causing human LB are not known to cause illness in dogs. The main tick vector for Bb is the 3host tick Ixodes scapularis in Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern states, and adjacent areas of Canada, I. pacificus in the Pacific states and Canada and, I. ricinus in Europe. Ixodes scapularis also may transmit B. mayonii in the upper Midwest and adjacent Canada causing LB signs and B. miyamotoi, in the Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern US and adjacent areas of Canada is a cause of tickborne relapsing fever in humans but is not yet known in dogs. Similarly, B. lonestari, transmitted by Amblyomma and other ticks, once thought to cause southern tickassociated rash infection in humans, has not been associated with illness in dogs. Relapsing fever Borrelia species have been described in sick dogs , and are transmitted by Ornithodorus soft argasid ticks, which only feed for 1590 minutes.
Lyme Disease Causes Pain And Discomfort
Lyme disease in dogs tends to be associated with pain and discomfort, including stiffness and joint pain, Bierbrier says. Dogs will often have difficulty walking and transitioning from lying down to standing. They may also be lethargic and have a fever.
Theres also the discomfort associated with veterinary treatmentplus the inconvenience and added expense for you. After Lyme disease is diagnosed the treatment is a four-week course of antibiotics, Poulsen says. Treatment does not always eliminate the organism from the body, which is why titers often remain positive even after treatment.
Dogs with Lyme nephritis need more aggressive treatment, including hospitalization for intravenous fluids and injectable antibiotics, but this form of Lyme disease doesnt tend to respond well to treatment, she says.
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Can Dogs Spread Lyme Disease To People
Dogs can be a good indicator of humans risk for exposure to infected ticks, since they frequent the same outdoor areas as their owners. A study published in May 2017 in the journal PLoS One suggests that testing canines for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can help predict areas where human Lyme disease risk may emerge.
A study published in September 2011 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found that areas with canine Lyme disease rates above 5 percent also had a higher-than-average rate of the disease in humans.
While the same ticks may affect humans and animals, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs can directly spread Lyme disease to humans. The risk to humans is that pets can carry infected ticks into the home.
On the other hand, cats may directly infect humans with the tick-borne bartonella bacteria through scratching or biting. Cats harboring fleas infected with bartonella bacteria can cause cat scratch disease , especially in children under 15 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Things You Need To Know About Lyme Disease In Dogs
May 4, 2017 / 4:49 PM / CBS News
The arrival of springtime means Lyme disease is again resurfacing as a concern on the radar screens of people across the country. So, if you go for a hike or take a walk through long grass, chances are that you’ll check yourself for ticks afterward.
But our pets are constantly lounging and playing in conditions conducive to tick exposure, and how often do we thoroughly check them? If the answer to that question isn’t “every day,” then experts say it’s not enough.
“The most important thing is to stress prevention,” explains Dr. Richard Goldstein, chief medical officer at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. “This is something that we want to prevent from happening the first time. Once you’re infected with these organisms, the chance is you might be infected for life. So, you just have to really go through hair by hair. Look at the paws. Look at the ears. Look around the muzzle, the face. If you do it every day, you’re not going to get a big accumulation.”
Occasionally, however, a dog can pick up hundreds of ticks on a single outing and the result can be disgusting, to say the least.
“Sometimes if a dog walks through a place where ticks were molting into nymphs, you might find 200 tiny ticks on your dog,” explains Dr. Goldstein. “That’s scary when that happens.”
But that’s not the only scary reality of Lyme that pet owners should heed.
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