Kidney Damage Caused By Lyme Disease
More serious complications, although uncommon, include:
Damage to the kidneys
Rarely, heart or nervous system disease 1,2
Lyme disease sometimes leads to glomerulonephritisthe inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli .
Eventually, kidney failure may set in as the dog begins to exhibit signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid buildups that can appear as swollen limbs.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is preventable. The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid areas with high concentrations of ticks, like woods and grassy areas. Ticks are most active during the summer and fall, but infections are common during the summer as well as the winter in areas with mild winters. You should always manually check your dog for ticks after going for walks in tick-infested areas.
Administering a monthly tick preventative will also help prevent Lyme disease. Many of these preventatives kill ticks before they have had a chance to attach for 24 hours, reducing the risk of infection. There is also a vaccination that may be recommended for your dog if you regularly frequent high-risk areas. If you live in an area with severe infestations of ticks, you may also want to consider treating your yard, although pesticide treatments carry risks of their own that should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Does Treatment Immediately After A Tick Bite Negate Signs Of Early Infection
Not every tick carries B. burgdorferi. The infection rate of ticks also varies with geographic region. Therefore, treatment should not be performed based on a tick bite alone. If the tick was found on the animal it can be sent in for B. burgdorferi PCR. PCR for Anaplasma can be performed simultaneously if requested. If the tick was infected, early treatment can be considered. However, a tick must feed for at least 24 hours on an animal or human for B. burgdorferi transmission to occur. Only a serological test will confirm whether transmission of B. burgdorferi occurred and the animal was infected. Antibodies can be detected in infected animals as early as 3-4 weeks after infection. Lyme Multiplex testing is recommended after that time. Treatment can be initiated immediately afterwards if antibody levels are positive. Treatment during this early infection phase is generally very effective.
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Do All Infected Dogs Develop Lyme Disease
Thankfully, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease usually doesnt cause any symptoms despite being present in the body. In fact, only 5-10% of dogs that test positive for the bacteria ever show any symptoms. The remaining 90-95% are still considered to have the disease, but since they arent affected by it in any way, vets usually dont prescribe any treatment.
Can Dogs Live With Lyme Disease
In the past, it may have been difficult for dogs to survive Lyme disease due to the inability to diagnose the disease.
If your dog does contract Lyme disease, however, they are likely to exhibit the symptoms listed above.
These symptoms are caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium in the bite of an infected tick.
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How Can You Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
Although Lyme disease vaccines are no longer available for humans, several vaccines are still available for dogs.
Canine vaccination isnt always effective, and the protection from the vaccines wanes over time. It also does not provide protection against other tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to the CDC.
Limiting dogs’ exposure to ticks can help prevent them from getting Lyme disease.
Various sprays, collars, and topical products can also kill and repel ticks.
These products typically contain ingredients such as fipronil, pyrethroids , and amitraz.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, be sure to check your dog for ticks daily and remove any ticks promptly by grasping their heads with tweezers and pulling them off.
Additional reporting by George Vernadakis.
Is Lyme Disease In Dogs Contagious
Thankfully, no! Your dog can’t get Lyme disease directly from another dog and can’t give it directly to you. A tick has to suck the blood from an infected animal and then bite another animal to spread the Borrelia bacteria. No tick bite means no Lyme disease.
It is also important to note that the tick must be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi. Removing an attached tick from your dog promptly is one of the best ways to prevent Lyme disease.
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Scary Facts About Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is a scary thought for people, with approximately 30,000 cases of the illness being reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year. But are you aware that Lyme disease can also affect dogs? Like in humans, it is transmitted by a bacterium spread through the bite of an infected tick. Here are some other disturbing facts you may not have known about Lyme disease in dogs.
Ways To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
Some of the best ways to prevent ticks and Lyme disease for your dogs are:
- Avoiding higher risk areas during warmer seasons
- Checking the dog for ticks every day, but especially after walks in high risk areas
- Manage your landscape: remove leafs, dirt, vegetative covers and similar
- Prevent wildlife from entering your yard by using barriers and fences
- Use acaricides that contain permethrin like SaverPak or Control Solutions they are very effective at killing ticks and are safe for dogs
- Consider routinely vaccinating your dog against the disease but keep in mind that scientists are currently debating whether vaccines are worth it to prevent Lyme in dogs due to potentially increasing the risk of Lyme nephropathy in dogs, especially for breeds that are more at risk.
Below are some more tips in detail on how to prevent Lyme disease in dogs and prevent exposure to ticks on a daily basis.
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Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed And Treated In Dogs
There’s no single test that can distinguish clinical canine Lyme disease from a simple Borrelia burgdorferi infection.
Diagnosis of Lyme disease in dogs depends on:
- Exposure to ticks and Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria
- Signs or symptoms consistent with Lyme disease
- Consideration of other potential diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Response to treatment
In humans, Lyme disease is treated with various oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on the stage of the disease and what symptoms a person has developed.
But in dogs, Lyme disease is almost always treated with oral doxycycline for about four weeks. The treatment may be extended if symptoms persist.
Dogs with Lyme nephropathy may require additional treatments, including:
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Are There Tests For Lyme Disease
Several different blood tests are used when diagnosing Lyme disease. None of the tests are definitive, as they only measure whether or not a dog has been exposed to the bacteria they are unable to say for sure whether Lyme disease is the cause of any symptoms or whether it will cause symptoms in the future. In areas with high concentrations of ticks, 75% or more of dogs can test positive for the disease, though only 5% of those dogs may ever be symptomatic.
Blood tests may also show false positives in dogs that have received certain Lyme disease vaccines. Occasionally, testing may produce a false negative result, particularly if a Lyme-carrying tick bit the dog within the past four weeks. The bacteria require about four weeks of incubation before it accumulates in detectable levels.
Ticks And The Danger Of Lyme Disease For You And Your Dog
All dog walkers should be aware of the dangers of a serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease which is passed on by ticks to them and their dog.
Lyme disease can be a devastating disease, yet it can be easily treated if caught early.
Dogs, cats and humans can all get Lyme disease. Although its uncommon in cats and less serious in dogs, in humans it can be extremely serious, debilitating, life changing and in very rare cases can prove fatal.
Therefore, it is vital you know the signs to look out for and what to do, should you or your dog pick up a tick whilst out on a walk.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Transmitted From Pet To Pet
Lyme disease is seen in dogs, cats, and humans but thankfully, no, Lyme disease is not contagious, as it can only be transmitted via a tick bite. However, if one of your dogs or cats develops it, youll want to get all of your pets checked for the illness, as they may all be at risk of exposure to the ticks that infected your sick fur baby. You may even want to get yourself checked as well, as people are usually in the same places as their pets.
How Is Acute Lyme Disease Treated
In cases of acute and subacute Lyme disease, the infection is usually cured after a round of antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for Lyme are doxycycline and amoxicillin, and treatment usually lasts between four and eight weeks. Within a few days after beginning the antibiotics, symptoms will begin to improve, but the full course of medication must be completed to ensure that the infection doesnt return.
Your dog may still seem pained and uncomfortable while taking the antibiotics, but vets dont usually prescribe painkillers for Lyme disease. Because its so difficult to diagnose Lyme disease, the symptoms need to be carefully monitored during treatment to ensure that the Lyme bacteria truly caused them. Painkillers will mask the symptoms, causing them to appear as if theyre improving, even if they arent. So Vets are hesitant to use them concurrently with antibiotics.
If symptoms dont resolve after a round of antibiotics, or if they clear up and then return later, the dog may be rediagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. However, even if symptoms never recur, the dog is still likely to carry small amounts of the bacteria for the rest of its life, as antibiotics rarely eliminate the infection.
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Is There A Vaccine That Will Protect My Dog From Lyme Disease
A safe and generally effective vaccine is available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two- to four-week intervals.
“Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.”
Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity. Vaccination against Lyme disease will be determined by your pet’s lifestyle and individual risk assessment. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have regarding the type and frequency of vaccination with your veterinarian.
If My Animal Is Positive On The Assay Should He/she Be Treated For Lyme Disease
If your animal is displaying clinical signs of Lyme disease and is positive on the Lyme Multiplex assay, it is advisable to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. If your animal appears healthy, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and develop a monitoring plan with your veterinarian.
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Origins Of Lyme Disease
Ticks generally thrive in temperate climates, and both adult and nymph ticks are the sources of Lyme disease as they carry the causative bacteria. Several studies have shown that this disease affects dogs living in coasts and Upper Midwest. According to reports, dogs in Northern USA are more prone to this disease. They come out in full force during the spring season but can affect your dog year round. Black-legged ticks are mostly responsible for spreading Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment
Reviewed and updated on April 14, 2020 by Rania Gollakner, DVM
Lyme disease in dogs is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, but it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. So some dogs may have it, but never show symptoms.
Transmission of Lyme disease has been reported in dogs throughout the United States and Europe, but its most prevalent in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific coastal states.
However, the disease is spreading and becoming more common throughout the United States. Heres some info about the causes and prevention of Lyme disease, as well as the symptoms you should look for and treatment options.
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Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease
There is a myriad of clinical signs which may or may not be present in dogs. Some dogs may exhibit no clinical signs whatsoever. Unfortunately, this does not mean the body isnt being affected negatively by the bacteria. Be sure to contact your vet if your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Painful and/or swollen joints
- Intermittent and/or limb-shifting lameness – Example: lame on the right front leg one day, lame on the left rear leg the next day, not lame at all the following day
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Untreated, Lyme disease can cause significant damage to the kidneys , heart , and nervous system .
How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
Doxycycline is an antibiotic that veterinarians generally prescribe to treat Lyme disease if your dogs condition is stable. But, if Lyme disease has adversely affected your dogs kidney, then this medication wont work. You can continue the medicine for four weeks. But, if the bacterial infection is severe, then you may need to use this medicine for some more weeks. If your dog feels uncomfortable after taking this medicine, then you can use an anti-inflammatory drug in conjunction. You can give your dog Doxycycline twice a day after a gap of twelve hours for 30 days. The antibiotics start working immediately, and you will notice an improvement in your dogs symptoms within 24 or 48 hours. You can contact a veterinarian if you do not find any improvements in your dogs condition after 72 hours. A single course of antibiotics is sufficient to cure Lyme disease entirely, provided the disease is in the initial stages. But, this disease recurs in case of certain dogs. Still, there is nothing to be worried about as a proper dosage of medicine reduces the likelihood of lifelong consequences.
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Warning Signs Of Untreated Lyme Disease In Dogs
Both humans and dogs are susceptible to a bacterial illness known as Lyme disease. The illness, which is transmitted by certain species of ticks, can create a number of health complications throughout the body, especially when left undiagnosed and untreated.
Identifying the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can be more complicated than with humans, though, due to the different ways the illness may affect your pets health and produce symptoms. But identifying Lyme disease is crucial to getting your dog effective treatment for this condition. Avoiding doing so may lead to rare but serious health complications that may affect your dogs quality of life or even put their life at risk. Take a few minutes to educate yourself on the common Lyme symptoms in dogs, and what you can do to treat and prevent this condition.
How Do You Keep Ticks Off Your Dog
The best way to keep ticks away from your dog is by applying a topical flea and tick medication on a regular basis. Oral tick preventatives are also available, though theyre relatively new and you may have a harder time finding a vet who will prescribe them. Due to increased resistance based on location, certain medications may be ineffective against ticks in your area, so consult your local vet before making a purchase.
Tick collars are inexpensive and can be purchased over the counter, but theyre less effective than oral and topical medications. Collars can also be easily removed and may get snagged on branches as your dog runs by, presenting both a safety and an efficacy hazard.
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Do Dogs With Seizures Live Long
The majority of epileptic dogs have their first seizure between 1 and 5 years of age, and dogs in that age range are more likely to be diagnosed as idiopathic epileptics, although about one-third of dogs 1-5 years old will be diagnosed with a structural or metabolic cause.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease
People with pets should:
- Use reliable tick-preventive products. Speak with your veterinarian about what tick preventive product is right for your pet.
- Work with your veterinarian to decide whether to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease. Your veterinarians advice may depend on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and overall health, and other factors.
- When possible, avoid areas where ticks might be found. These include tall grasses, marshes and wooded areas.
- Check for ticks on both yourself and your animals once indoors.
- Clear shrubbery next to homes.
- Keep lawns well maintained.
As noted above, there are preventive Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, but they aren’t necessarily recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to see if the vaccination makes sense for your pets. If your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated against Lyme disease, the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.
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