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.
How To Prevent Dogs From Having Ticks
While it is healthy to bring your dog out often to play, keeping them indoors most of the time is still the best way to avoid ticks. After a fun walk outside, thoroughly check them for any signs of ticks or itching as the longer a tick stays attached to your dog, the higher risk of developing a disease.
Ticks attach to grass, shrubs, etc., and latch on to nearby animals so it would be best to maintain a clean environment to avoid harboring ticks.
Can My Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated
Yes. Some animals have been infected despite vaccination. The most common reasons are low or short-lasting vaccine antibodies in the individual animal. It is advisable to monitor the vaccine response annually to ensure the animal develops sufficient antibodies in response to vaccination. Vaccine antibodies can be quantified with the Lyme Multiplex assay as early as two weeks following vaccination or anytime afterwards.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs: Is It Common How Dangerous Is It
You undoubtedly already know that ticks carry Lyme disease in dogs. Those disgusting parasites are always on the lookout for a warm host to feast on. Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, is present in some ticks.
However, you may not know that your dog may test positive for Lyme disease even when it does not have the condition. It is strange, isnt it? But its true. According to the Tufts University Cummings School in Animal Medicine, an antibody test may indicate positive status. However, only approximately 5% of dogs tested positive for the disease. The excellent news for dog lovers everywhere!
Five percent of dogs have Lyme disease, so it is essential to know what to look out for if you think your pet has it. You and your veterinarian should also talk about the benefits and drawbacks of the Lyme vaccination.
The second thing to remember is that fever and lameness may appear in dogs in as little as two to three days, while in others, it might take weeks or even months before symptoms appear.
In other words, if you remove ten ticks from your dog in August, it may be Halloween when your dog begins to exhibit symptoms of the sickness. However, if you locate ticks on your dog and it begins to be sluggish, take it to the clinic as soon as possible. As compared to chronic Lyme disease, acute Lyme is simpler to treat.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
How Do You Check Your Dog For Ticks
To check your dog for ticks, gently work your fingers through their fur and down to the skin. Feel for ticks or other bumps around their entire body. If you notice something off, part your dogs fur, and do a visual check.
Ticks love attaching onto the following areas:
Soft areas behind the dogs ears
Under the collar
If you find a tick, use a tick comb to sift through the fur for unwanted bugs hitching a ride on your furry friend. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it using fine-tipped tweezers. There are also products available specifically for removing ticks. Grab the tick as close to your dogs skin as possible. Slowly pull straight up to remove the tick from your dog.
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Tick Borne Diseases In Dogs: How To Spot And Prevent These Potentially Dangerous Diseases
Many people think that ticks can only affect humans, but, in fact, dogs are more commonly used as a host than humans. Not only can ticks be shocking and disturbing to find feeding on your pet, but they can also pass serious diseases.
Here at Prairie View Animal Hospital we use the 4dx test to screen our dogs annually for an immune respose to three common tick-bourne diseases, lyme, ehrlichia, and anaplasma. Unfortunately, all three diseases have been diagnosed in patients in our hospital just this year.
Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Veterinarians treat dogs with Lyme disease through a combination of medical therapy and supportive care. A 4-to 6-week course of antibiotics will be prescribed for dogs with clinical signs of Lyme disease, as well as for dogs that have a high antibody level, even if they are asymptomatic. Many owners see improvement within a few days. However, a second round of antibiotics is often required, as the infection may persist through the first round of treatment.
Severe cases of Lyme disease will acquire additional therapy to treat affected kidneys, heart, or nerves, along with supportive care like intravenous fluids. Re-checking blood work is recommended six months after completing antibiotic therapy to determine if treatment has been successful.
There is some debate within the veterinary community as to whether dogs should be treated if they test positive for Lyme disease but are asymptomatic and have a low antibody level. Your veterinarian will speak to you about different options so that you can come up with the best treatment plan for your dog.
Lyme disease can stay in your dogs body even with antibiotics. In these cases, the disease often flares up when a dogs immune system is suppressed or weakened, such as during periods of stress. The same antibiotic can be used to treat repeated recurrences of Lyme disease. Unlike other types of infections, the lingering infection is not a direct result of antibiotic resistance.
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Other Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Dogs are more resilient against Lyme disease than other animals. According to an experimental study, only a small percent of pet dogs that test positive for this disease develop symptoms.
Dog Lyme disease can also result in intermittent arthritis, similar to humans, and rarely results in a kidney infection. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in Joints and leg
- Signs of rash in areas such as the leg or the limb
- Signs of fever and illness
All of these symptoms are indicative of a tick bite.
Ticks & Your Dog’s Health
The health of people and pets across the US is at serious risk from a host of tick-borne diseases. These illnesses impact thousands of dogs throughout North America every year and are capable of producing some very serious symptoms. In some cases, tick-borne diseases can even be life-threatening or fatal.
Not only that, multiple organisms can be transmitted to your dog through a single bite of an infected tick, allowing different organisms to work together to release toxins and trigger your pets immune system. These organisms can invade your dog’s cells and hijack their immune system often leading to recurring or chronic infections.
Below are some of the most common tick borne illnesses in dogs.
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What Is Neurologic Lyme Disease
Neurologic symptoms of Lyme disease occur when the Lyme disease bacteria affect the peripheral or central nervous systems.
- Cranial nerve involvement: When the cranial nerves are affected, facial palsy can occur on one or both sides of the face.
- Peripheral nerve involvement: When the peripheral nerves are affected, patients can develop radiculoneuropathy which can cause numbness, tingling, shooting pain, or weakness in the arms or legs.
- Central nervous system involvement: When the central nervous system is affected, Lyme meningitis can cause fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and stiff neck.
Out of every 100 patients whose cases are reported to CDC, 9 have facial palsy, 4 have radiculopathy, and 3 have meningitis or encephalitis. Because of reporting practices, this statistic may overestimate how often these manifestations are seen by clinicians.
Can My Dog Survive Lyme Disease
Can my dog recover from Lyme disease? If you are able to detect the disease early, symptoms should disappear within the first 3 days of your pups treatment. However, while treatment is usually very effective at eliminating signs of Lyme disease, dogs with Lyme disease can remain positive for the rest of their lives.J
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How Is Lyme Disease In Dogs Treated
Treatment for Lyme disease consists of at least 4 weeks of antibiotics. Your vet will prescribe these if your dog shows signs of Lyme disease or has a high level of antibodies, even without any symptoms.
A second round of antibiotics might be required if the infection persists, Richardson says.
In severe cases, further medical treatment of the kidneys, heart, or nerves may be needed, along with supportive care like intravenous fluids. To manage your pets pain, a veterinarian may prescribe NSAID pain relievers or steroids and restrict exercise.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
In contrast to human cases of Lyme disease, where three different stages are well known, Lyme disease in dogs is primarily and acute or subacute arthritis. The acute form may be transient and may recur in some cases. The devastating chronic stage in humans with systemic disease has rarely been seen in dogs.
Dogs show sudden lameness and sometimes signs of severe pain. One or more joints may be involved. Joints are often swollen, hot, and painful upon manipulation. Dogs may have fever and be off-feed and lethargic. Some become severely depressed and are reluctant to move. Lameness may recur after a period of recovery lasting several weeks.
Lameness in dogs occurs an average of two to five months after tick exposure.
The first stage of human Lyme disease, a skin rash called erythema chronica migrans, is rarely seen in dogs. Some symptoms associated with the later stages of Lyme disease in humans have also been reported in rare instances in dogs. They include heart block, kidney failure, and neurological changes such as seizures, aggression, and other behavior changes.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Dogs can display several forms of Lyme disease, but the most common symptoms are lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In addition, serious kidney complications have been associated with Lyme disease in dogs.
Clinical signs of Lyme disease in horses include shifting-leg lameness, generalized stiffness, hypersensitivity to touch, weight loss, and poor performance. Sometimes, the bacteria can infect the central nervous system, leading to neurologic symptoms.
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What If My Dog Tested Positive But Isnt Sick
Dogs from areas where anaplasmosis or Lyme disease are common have often been exposed to A. phagocytophilum and have a positive antibody test result. It appears that many dogs may have antibodies to A. phagocytophilum without having any evidence of clinical disease. It has been shown that clinically healthy dogs may have persistent infection with A. phagocytophilum and are chronically infected carriers of the organism. We do not know if these dogs will eventually become ill or not.
Current research suggests that canine anaplasmosis is an acute disease that occurs in dogs a week or two after infection through a tick bite. Because chronic infection has not been directly related to clinical disease and because a therapeutic regimen effective in clearing the organism from an infected animal has not been established, treating clinically healthy, positive testing animals is of questionable benefit and not generally recommended at this time.
“A positive test result in a clinically healthy dog should not be disregarded.”
There is also some concern that chronically infected carrier dogs could be adversely affected by medications that compromise the immune system , or by an illness that might reduce a dogs immune status.
What Happens If Lyme Disease Goes Untreated In Dogs
How does Lyme disease affect a dog? If left untreated, Lyme disease may cause renal, neurological system, and heart problems.
Avoidance is the best form of prevention. Ticks attach themselves to grasses, bushes, and tree branches close to the ground. Ticks are much more likely to adhere in these locations than in dry ones in moist conditions. And they will most likely attach themselves to people and animals hair and clothes if they contact them. So keep an eye on your surroundings to ensure that you and your pup are in no danger.
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Using Cbd Oil In Your Dogs Treatment Plan
There is anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD is a holistic solution that can improve your dogs overall mood and increase their appetite. The increase in appetite is important because Lyme disease in dogs can reduce their appetite. Although CBD oil is not a treatment for Lyme disease in dogs, it can help stimulate appetite and can help mitigate any pain or discomfort your dog may be feeling. If your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease you should speak with your trusted veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan that suits your dog.
Can Lyme Disease Cause Seizures In Dogs
The thought of your dog being diagnosed with Lyme disease can be a difficult concept to stomach. After all, you love your dog and treat him as if he were just another member of the family.
Even though no pet owner ever wants to hear this news about their dog, it is still a very realistic situation that may arise as a pet owner. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on everything you need to know about this health issue and what you can do to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
If your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, educate yourself. What you want to do is learn about the side effects, its cause, and how to ultimately cure the disease and get your dog back to living his healthy life.
This article will review the fundamentals of Lyme disease in dogs while also going over possible symptoms such as seizures and neurological issues that may arise in severe cases.
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The Symptoms Of Meningitis In Dogs
When most of us hear the word meningitis, we get a sinking feeling in our guts. Meningitis, although rare, affects the membranes of the brain and spinal cord . When these meninges become infected by viruses or bacteria, the infection can cause death.
Meningitis in dogs is very similar and can result in death as well. This neurological disease inflames these protective membranes, which can cause seizures and paralysis as well. What makes meningitis so dangerous as it is often misdiagnosed as the flu, resulting in a delay in treatment. Early diagnosis is key to a successful recovery.
Veterinary Neurologist & Imaging of the Chesapeake located in Annapolis, MD, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis in dogs. If you suspect your dog has meningitis, call your vet immediately or visit an emergency pet hospital in order to give your dog the best chance of successful treatment.
SIGNS OF MENINGITIS IN DOGS
These symptoms of meningitis vary among dogs. However, its important to be cognizant of them, so if in case your pet exhibits these symptoms, you take them seriously and get your dog to a veterinarian right away.
- Neck or back pain, which would result in stiffness in your dog and his desire to not move around all that much
- Muscle spasms in the neck, back, or legs
- Having trouble when walking
- Fever, which would require a thermometer for proper check
CAUSES OF MENINGITIS IN DOGS
TREATMENT OF MENINGITIS IN DOGS
A DOGS SURVIVAL OF MENINGITIS
Cofactors That Increase The Risk Of Lyme Disease
You now know that your dog is more likely to develop symptoms of Lyme disease if there is a coinfection. So of course, you want to know what these underlying cofactors are.
This is where it gets weird. Dr Rau discovered that certain vaccines were cofactors for Lyme disease. And that includes the tick-borne meningoencephalitis vaccine.
Now, it isnt known whether the Lyme vaccine for dogs is a cofactor. And thats because they conducted the research on the human population. But, we can tell you that the LYMERix human Lyme disease vaccine was only used for 18 months between 1998 and 2000. After that they pulled it off the market amidst reports of serious adverse events and because the vaccine may have caused Lyme-like arthritis.
And they have not developed a new Lyme vaccine for humans since. Did you catch that?
They pulled the human Lyme vaccine from the market because of safety concerns. Yet vaccination for Lyme disease is still recommended for your dogs.
Evidence is mounting that it could be this very vaccine that acts as a cofactor allowing Lyme to progress from flu-like symptoms into a debilitating disease.
Dr Rau explains the relationship in this short video:
Other important cofactors for Lyme disease include:
- Chronic inflammation
- Other bacteria and fungi
- Heavy metals and toxins
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