What Exactly Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, or Borreliosis, is a very infectious disease in dogs that comes from exposure to ticks. It has many dominant symptoms that you can quickly notice in your dog, mainly lameness in the joins. Its one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases, but despite that, it still only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. The ticks get into the dogs bloodstream through a bite and once in the bloodstream, the bacteria travels to different parts of the body and cause stiffness in specific joints and overall illnesses.
When a dog has Lyme disease, it suffers from inflammation in the joints, which means recurring lameness. This is a horrible sensation for dogs to feel and alongside it, they can also suffer from loss of appetite and depression, just to name a few. You dont want your furry friends to suffer from Lyme disease since its a very uncomfortable disease that can escalate into something fast, so its good to spot any red flags as early as possible.
When not detected on time, complications can arise from Lyme disease such as kidney problems, heart diseases, and nervous system failures. These are very rare but Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, or Bernese Mountain Dogs are unfortunately more at risk for kidney-related problems caused by Lyme disease.
Closing In On A Correct Diagnosis
My mother insisted that I see the chief of infectious disease in a prominent Boston hospital. On July 13, 2017, roughly seven months after this all started, we met with him, and he agreed that something unexpected was wrong. He felt that it could even be the start of multiple sclerosis or another autoimmune disease. He said he wanted to draw blood and run as many tests as he could think of for many different infections, autoimmune markers, and signs of inflammation.
He also said he was going to run a different type of Lyme test, called a Lyme C6 Peptide, one his experience dictated was more reliable than the ones Id had already.
A week later, he called with the results: Everything was negative or normal, except the Lyme test, it was positive. I was thrilled at first, as he said a three-week course of the antibiotic doxycycline would cure me. He called in the prescription and I started it the next day.
I had no idea what to expect from treatment. I soon learned that with tick-borne infections, your symptoms become much worse during treatment: When you take antibiotics, an enormous number of infectious organisms die off, which causes an inflammatory response in your body. At the end of the course of doxy, my pain was much worse than it had been, and my facial numbness had turned into full-blown trigeminal neuralgia . I couldnt chew food or even speak comfortably because my facial and dental nerves were so inflamed. Then, all of my body pain worsened.
The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
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Lyme Carditis: A Cant Miss Diagnosis
ABSTRACT: Lyme disease, caused by the tick-borne spirochete bacterium Borrelia spp., is becoming increasingly prevalent in Canada. Lyme carditis is a rare but important early disseminated manifestation of the disease, which can present with high-degree atrioventricular block in otherwise healthy young adults. Timely treatment of Lyme carditis with appropriate antibiotics can lead to complete resolution. However, patients with Lyme carditis often have missed or late diagnoses, which can result in unnecessary pacemaker implantations, complications, and even fatalities. Considering Lyme carditis in the differential diagnosis of young patients presenting with new atrioventricular blocks is critical to ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment.
Clinicians should consider a diagnosis of Lyme carditis, an early manifestation of Lyme disease, if nonspecific cardiac symptoms have been preceded by flu-like symptoms and erythema migrans, especially if the patient is young, has no history of cardiac disease, and has recently traveled to an endemic area for Lyme disease.
Touched By Lyme: When Lyme Disease Affects The Heart
Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physicians Search for True Healing, by Neil Spector, MD.
Neil Spector was a seemingly healthy physician living with his wife in Florida. One day, he experienced what appeared to be textbook symptoms of a heart attack. Erratic heartbeat, chest pressure, pain radiating from chest to neck and jaw. Except all the tests the emergency room gave him turned out normal. He wasnt having a heart attack, his doctors said. They chalked it all up to stress, suggested he learn how to relax, and sent him on his way.
Spector continued to have troubling symptoms. Often, his heart pounded too fast. Other times, way too slowly. Sometimes, without warning, hed fall to the ground. He had extended periods of bradycardia, when the heart doesnt pump enough oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Yet, the answer from doctors was always the same: Nothing wrong at all. Just a little stress.
Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physicians Search for True Healing, Spectors gripping memoir, covers about two decades. It starts with those initial heart-related episodes. Then it progresses to stages where he needs a pacemaker, then an internal defibrillator, and eventually a heart transplant. Its a riveting account of how this affects him, his wife, and their family. Its also about Lyme disease.
Several weeks after receiving a pacemaker, Spector develops arthritis in his wrists. Coincidentally, he takes doxycycline for something unrelated. To his surprise, his wrist pain goes away.
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Communication About A Tick Bite
Its important to let a healthcare provider know you havent been feeling well and have been bit by a tick. Without this piece of information, it will take longer for them to treat your condition accurately.
Your healthcare provider will likely request an electrocardiogram to check your hearts electrical signals. This test will help them decide the severity of your particular case.
They may also request a blood draw to see if there is any indication of a tick bite. However, the lab tests are not always reliable.
How To Diagnose Neuropathy
For most people, a diagnosis of neuropathy may be based upon a persons medical history, physical exam, lab work, and neurologic evaluation. The following tests can be useful to identify the condition, as well as rule out potential causes and contributing factors.
- Neurologic Exam: During a neurologic exam, your doctorusually a neurologistassesses reflexes ability to feel sensations like hot, cold, and pain coordination balance muscle strength and muscle tone.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are run to assess nutritional deficiencies, organ function, toxins, and the presence of an atypical immune response.
- Electrodiagnostic Tests : EDX testing checks how well the muscles and nerves are functioning by measuring their electrical activity, which assists in determining the extent of nerve damage. Two commonly used procedures are electromyography and nerve conduction velocity . During an EMG, small needle electrodes are inserted through the skin into the muscle to measure the electrical activity while the muscle is at rest, during a mild contraction, and during a powerful contraction. Frequently, the NVC will be completed at the same time as the EMG, which helps further assess the amount and speed with which an electrical impulse moves through a nerve.
- Other Tests: The need for other testing will depend on the severity of your symptoms and could include specialized sensory testing, genetic testing, or a biopsy with tissue samples from a nerve, muscle, or skin.
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What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans can be vague, and chances are you have no idea youve been bitten by an infected tick until symptoms surface.
Ticks secrete an anesthetic that makes their bites painless, explains Christine Green, MD, a family physician in Mountain View, California, and a member of the Bay Area Lyme Foundations scientific advisory board. Plus, theyre tiny. A young, immature tick, called a nymphthe stage of development during which these bloodsuckers are most likely to transmit Lyme diseaseis roughly the size of a pinhead when it latches on, so you dont know its there, she tells Health.
According to the CDC, the incubation period for Lymein other words, the time between a persons exposure to Borrelia bacteria and symptom onsetranges from three to 30 days. The main symptoms of Lyme disease in the early days and weeks after infection can include:
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Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
Sleep In Lyme Disease Pain Management
The center of a pain control strategy in Lyme disease is sleep. Sleep helps in two ways.
Lyme Disease Pain Strategy
Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. To do this use good sleep hygiene, sleep herbs and supplements, and/or sleep prescriptions. See Sleep in Lyme Disease: The Basic Steps, Sleep: The Natural Medicines, and Sleep: The Prescription Medicines.
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Lyme Disease Vs Tmj: What Are The Symptoms
Lyme disease used to be rare in Michigan. It was so rare, in fact, that people with the symptoms of the disease were told that We dont have Lyme disease here.But thats in the past. A study published last year showed that cases of Lyme disease in the state have increased fivefold in recent years, growing from 30 cases or less a year in 2004 to 166 in 2013, a number that is most likely underestimated because people dont recognize the symptoms and its often misdiagnosed as other conditions, including TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorders.
Diagnosis Of Lyme Carditis
Lyme carditis diagnosis is confirmed via Lyme serology . To aid in the clinical diagnosis and empiric treatment of Lyme carditis, Besant and colleagues developed and validated a highly sensitive risk stratification score called the suspicious index in Lyme carditis score , which evaluates the pretest probability that a patients new onset AVB is caused by Lyme carditis. The variables of the SILC score can be associated with the mnemonic CO-STAR: constitutional symptoms, outdoor activity/endemic area, sex = male, tick bite, age < 50 years, and rash . Patients with a high-degree AVB and a SILC score > 2 have an intermediate or high pretest probability of Lyme carditis therefore, they should be tested for Lyme serology and begin empiric antibiotic treatment for Lyme carditis while serology results are pending. Patients with a high-degree AVB and a SILC score 2 have a low pretest probability of Lyme carditis therefore, they should undergo standard treatment for high-degree AVB and should not receive empiric antibiotic treatment. These patients generally do not require Lyme serology testing, but because each clinical situation is unique, the decision to test ultimately rests with the clinical judgment of the health care team.
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Lyme Disease Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lyme disease can sometimes be confused for other conditions, and its not uncommon for patients presenting with Lyme disease-related joint pain to be misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis . Both Lyme and RA cause joint pain and can be debilitating when left untreated, but there are differences.
- Lyme arthritis tends to manifest in larger joints , on one side of the body. Lyme joint pain tends to come and go.
- Rheumatoid arthritis occurs more often in the hands, feet, fingers, and toes, and shows up on both sides of the body. RA joint pain and stiffness occurs every day, and is usually chronic.
- Lyme disease usually goes away when treated, and most patients make a full recovery.
- Rheumatoid arthritis treatment can manage symptoms and show the progression of the disease, but there is no cure.
Lyme pain can often migrate throughout the body, and patients may have pain in their knee one week, and in their wrists the following week, says Chicago-based integrative medicine specialist Casey Kelley, MD. With rheumatoid arthritis, the pain often stays where it begins and does not migrate.
Getting Lyme puts you at greater risk for later developing RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis. One study found that nearly one-third of participants who had Lyme-arthritis later developed an inflammatory arthritis.
Lyme disease symptoms typically begin 3-30 days after youve been bitten by a tick. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Bulls eye rash
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether youâve been exposed to a tick. They might also run a blood test. In the first few weeks of infection, the test may be negative because antibodies take a few weeks to show up.
Hopefully soon, there will be tests that can diagnose Lyme disease in the first few weeks after youâre exposed. The earlier you get treated, the less likely itâll get worse.
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Lyme Disease Symptoms In Dogs
One of the main symptoms of Lyme disease is limping in dogs, which can be alarming when first spotted. With Lyme disease, lameness is ongoing and can last anywhere from three to four days but sometimes, even goes on for weeks on end. It can worsen in the same leg or move on to other legs. If it jumps to other legs, then its often called shifting-leg lameness.
This lameness causes extreme discomfort, because lameness often causes a dogs legs to feel swollen, warm, and painful. If you see your dog suddenly limping, dont assume that they injured their paw or got tired from running too much at the park. It might be something more serious, like Lyme disease.
How can you tell whether they injured themselves or if its Lyme disease? If your dog is consistently lifting the same leg, then hes probably just injured it. But if the leg pain is shifting around and shifts from one leg to the next, it could be a sign of shifting-leg-lameness and actually a result from Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can also cause kidney problems in dogs. Dog kidney disease comes with a host of other problems like diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and fluid build-ups.
Some general symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs include:
- Stiff walking with an arched back
- Sensitivity to touch
- Nervous system complications
Back Pain And Lyme Disease
Low back pain affects most of us at some point in life, and usually its cause is mechanical. We typically do not think about low back pain resulting from a virus or bacteria, though we might be quick to recall times when LBP occurred suspiciously close to an infection such as a flu or a cold. Todays topic looks at a less common but dangerous cause of low back pain: Lyme disease.
Lyme disease was originally recognized in 1975 when an unusual number of children were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in the city of Lyme, Connecticut and a neighboring town. The investigators at that time thought it was suspicious that these affected children lived near woods and that their symptoms would recur during the summertime, the height of the tick season. Unique findings included a peculiar rash on the skin that developed just prior to the onset of arthritic-like symptoms, and many recalled being bitten by a tick near the rash site. Further investigation led to the discovery that tiny DEER ticks infected with a spiral shaped bacterium or spirochete, later named Borrelia burgdorferi, were indeed the responsible culprit of the LD associated arthritis. Ordinarily, wood ticks or dog ticks do not carry the infection.
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