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Can Vets Test Ticks For Lyme

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How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease

Vet Guide | Ticks and Lyme Disease Prevention in Dogs

Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.

The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.

The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.

Where Is Lyme Disease Most Often Found

Lyme disease can be found throughout the country, but it is most commonly reported in the Northeast, the Pacific coast, and the upper Midwest.

Over 90% of Lyme disease cases in dogs come from these regions, but it has been found in every state.

It is important to note that changes with deforestation and wild animal populations have caused shifts in these numbers, leading to an increase of Lyme cases in other regions.

Because of this, its important to be aware of Lyme disease no matter where you and your pup are located.

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.

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How is canine Lyme disease treated? The clinical signs of Lyme disease are treated with antibiotics, and often the symptoms will resolve within 3 days of therapy. A tetracycline antibiotic called doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is used to treat Lyme disease.

Lyme disease in dogs is curable, however, this may depend on each case and at what stage of the disease the dog receives treatment during.

Most dogs that are diagnosed with Lyme disease will be given a prescription of doxycycline, which is the most common type of antibiotic used to treat this condition.

Improved Lyme Test Showing Higher Incidence Of Lyme Disease Exposure

How to protect your pets from fleas and ticks

With the use of the Snap® test, a routine heartworm test also tests for Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis. The incidence of Lyme Disease exposure is much higher than previously thought.

Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis are caused by bacteria, and Ehrlichiosis is caused by a parasite, both of which can be transmitted by tick bites. All three diseases occur worldwide including in this area.

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What Are The Clinical Signs

Many people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic bulls-eye rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.

Symptoms of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. Because the other symptoms of the disease may be delayed or go unrecognized and because the symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, Lyme disease in animals is often not considered until other diseases have been eliminated.

Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells.

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.

Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body.

Diagnosis Of Feline Lyme Disease

Feline Lyme disease often goes unnoticed for long periods owing to symptoms which are common with various other conditions. Also, the Borrelia burgdorferi organism often does not manifest itself in form of symptoms for several weeks, especially since there are several combinations of factors that actually lead to the disease. This includes the pets medical history of other illnesses, the immunity and overall health of the feline etc. Also, many vets hesitate to order antibodies test for Lyme disease, and even despite such a test, the diagnosis might not be accurate since the organism might be present in cats that are not at all sick. Also, false negatives in such tests are very common. Hence, more stringent testing such as X-rays, urine cultures, testing of joint fluid and so on becomes necessary.

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Diagnosing Lyme Disease & Treatment

A Lyme Disease blood test looks for antibodies against a protein name C6, which are detectable 5 6 weeks after a tick bite. If the test comes back positive, then your vet will review the health history, conduct a urine test along with a second blood test for indicators of active infection. This will allow them to determine whether your pet requires antibiotics. The most common antibiotic prescribed for Lyme Disease is Doxycycline. Your vet will recommend another blood test 4 6 weeks later to ensure the treatment worked. Virtually all pets recover quickly with antibiotic treatment.

If you were with your pet when it caught ticks, you too should examine yourself carefully. A bite from an infected tick will result in a bullseye rash. This requires urgent medical attention. Humans are much more susceptible to serious health consequences from tick bites than animals.

Is Treatment 100% Effective

Local vets seeing more tick-borne Lyme disease in dogs

Scientists are divided on this topic. Some studies suggest that that even long-term antibiotics may not completely clear infection dogs may get sick again at some point after antibiotic treatment is stopped. Other studies suggest that complete clearance of infection is possible with antibiotic treatment. Further research is required to answer this question.

Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, Dip ACVP Margo S. Tant, BSc, DVM, DVSc

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How Lyme Disease Is Diagnosed In Dogs

If your vet believes that your pet could be suffering from Lyme disease they will review a full medical history of your dog health, discuss with you any instances when your dog may have come into contact with ticks, examine your pet’s body for ticks, then perform a number of tests which may include, blood tests , urine analysis, fecal exam and x-rays. If painful joints is one of your pup’s symptoms, your vet may draw fluid from the affected joints to be analyzed.

Can You Test My Dog For Lyme Disease

Absolutely. Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the test we incorporate at our animal hospital for diagnosing Lyme disease is called the 4DX test. Its a simple blood test that we run at our AAHA Accredited Cabbagetown animal hospital. This helps you get the answers you need in a timely fashion.

As the name implies, 4DX tests for four things: Heartworm, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Biological vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks, transmit all four of these diseases and may carry pathogens that can multiply within their bodies and be delivered to new hosts, usually by biting.

The test measures antibodies, meaning how your dog responds or reacts to an infection. A positive test result only indicates exposure to the bacteria. The infection could have occurred sometime in the past, and the immune system may have eliminated the bacteria without your dog ever showing symptoms.

If a positive test result is confirmed, our veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics and/or advise further, more specific testing.

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So Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease

Yes. Although, for reasons that we dont fully understand, they seem to be less susceptible than we are to the infection. Most dogs are asymptomatic, with less than 5-10% of infected dogs developing symptoms3. Even so, those that do develop clinical signs can become very poorly.

The most common symptoms in dogs resemble those in human patients, including fever, lethargy, and poor appetite. Funnily enough, dogs dont get erythema migrans, so a skin rash in a dog is unlikely to be Lyme disease. However, they frequently get very painful joints, making them reluctant to move or cause them to limp, which is often the reason an owner will take their dog to be checked by the vet.

Rarely, some dogs with Lyme disease can develop severe inflammation of the kidneys, which can be life-threatening. Data from the USA suggests retriever breeds and their crosses seem to be more at risk of this complication4.

Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs

Tick warning / questions : waterloo

In the case your pet does get Lyme disease, your vet may recommend antibiotics for a minimum of 30 days as a treatment. Also, ask your vet to run a full urine and blood test. Youâll want to make sure they donât have a kidney infection, which is a severe side effect of Lyme disease. Kidney infections can also be associated with weight loss, vomiting, loss of appetite or fatigue.

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Treating Lyme Disease In Dogs

If you notice your furry companion has any of the above-listed symptoms, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will conduct a blood test and, if the results come back positive, they will prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the bacteria from the pups bloodstream.

At the moment, Doxycycline and Amoxicillin are the most common treatment choices. After initiating antibiotic therapy, the symptoms will typically subside quickly .Make sure to follow the vets instructions when it comes to administering any drugs to your furry companion with regards to timing of the doses, quantity of medication given, and number of days to give the medication. It is crucial to finish administering all of the prescribed courses of antibiotics, even if your dog seems better after a few days. If you stop giving the drugs part way through a course, not all of the bacteria in your dogs body may be killed, and the remaining bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic and make your pet sick again.

Pets who test positive for Lyme disease will need to undergo a urine test every year as long-term exposure could lead to renal disease.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Dogs

Lyme disease can be difficult to identify in dogs as there are many other conditions that cause identical symptoms. Let your vet know if you have walked your dog in an area known to be high in ticks or if you have removed ticks from your dog yourself, as this will help them narrow down the list of possible diagnoses. If your vet suspects that your dog has Lyme disease, they will take a blood test to see if your dog has any antibodies against the Borrelia bacterium.

If this test is negative, then Lyme disease can be confidently ruled out. A positive test, however, is not a confirmed diagnosis. A positive antibody test only tells us that the dog has been exposed to the Borrelia bacterium and may be asymptomatic. Your vet cannot be sure it is the cause of your pets illness. They may recommend further blood tests, including something called the C6 antibody test, to confirm the diagnosis. A urine sample will also help your vet identify if there is any sign of kidney damage.

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Is My Dog At Risk Of Canine Lyme Disease

The short answer is a resounding yes. If you walk your dog in one of Torontos many wonderful series of wooded trail systems, you and your dog are susceptible. Canine Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Toronto area, initiated by the bite of infected, Ixode scapularis, also known as Deer or Blacklegged ticks. While not all variations of ticks carry Lyme disease, populations of Blacklegged, Deer and American Dog ticks continue to expand in the GTA and other parts of Ontario.

Canine Lyme Disease Risk Assessment:
  • Have you seen or heard of ticks on people or pets in your area?
  • Is your dog likely to go into areas where ticks are found?
  • Do you live in an area with ticks and/or where there are cases of Lyme disease in animals or humans?
  • Are you likely to travel with your dog to areas where Lyme disease is present?
  • Have you forgotten to give monthly tick medication on time?
  • If you answered YES to any of these questions, protection against disease-carrying ticks a small, chewy and tasty treat for your dog is recommended.

    Average Cost Of Treatment

    Officials harvest ticks, test for Lyme disease in Sacramento area

    In recent years, the cost of antibiotics for dogs has increased. A 2-week dose of Doxycycline or Amoxicillin can cost about $400 in some areas. Blood tests typically cost around $80, depending mainly on the methods used.

    As a dog owner, you also have to pay the vet exam fee, which ranges from $40 to $50 and isnt covered by pet insurance. The cost of modern veterinary care has increased in the country. This is why you can expect high vet bills if your dog is diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Fortunately, you can use veterinary crowdfunding to help with high and/or unexpected veterinary bills.

    In comparison to typical crowdfunding websites, veterinary crowdfunding provides assurances to your donors that the money raised will in fact go to the pets healthcare needs. When you decide to start a campaign for your dog, have a bit of fun with it. You get to tell your dogs story, include and awesome picture, and share your needs with the community of pet lovers out there. Get social and post your campaign to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pet lovers frequently visit these sites and you can capitalize on their big hearts by pulling at those heart strings to help your fury friend. There are a few sites that are solely dedicated to pet crowdfunding. Consider starting your campaign on a site like CoFund My Pet that is, as it may increase the looks you receive from other pet lovers.

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    Can A Vet Test A Tick For Lyme Disease

    Can a vet test a tick for lyme diseaseLyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarians clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately.

    How Can I Tell If Treatment Is Working

    If joint lameness is the presenting sign, improvement may be noted after 3-5 days starting antibiotics. A dog’s response to therapy can be assessed by repeating the QC6 test six months after treatment is complete. Dogs that start with a moderate to high QC6 value typically show a 50% reduction or more in the QC6 at six months, indicating that treatment has been successful. Dogs that have a lower initial QC6 value may not show such dramatic reductions in the QC6 at six months, although the value should still be lower than the starting point if treatment has been successful.

    A persistently high QC6 suggests treatment may not have been complete or that the dog became reinfected after treatment was stopped.

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    What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

    Like other dog health issues, there are a few factors that determine your pets prognosis. The prognosis depends on the time of detection of the disease, Dr. Muller says. In the case of early treatment without manifest symptoms, the prognosis is good. However, if clinical symptoms are already present that have caused damage to the kidneys, heart, and nervous system, then the prognosis is poor.

    Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection

    What To Do If Your Dog Has Ticks

    In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals dont show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.

    In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.

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    How Does The Canine Lyme Multiplex Assay Work

    The Canine Lyme Multiplex Assay was developed at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University. It detects antibodies to three B. burgdorferi antigens in canine serum . The test is based on fluorescent beads and allows the simultaneous measurement of antibodies to all three B. burgdorferi antigens in a single sample10,11.

    Figure 2:B. burgdorferi

    Can My Dog Be Vaccinated Against Lyme Disease

    Yes! There is currently no human vaccine for Lyme disease. Still, in the UK we have one vaccine approved for the vaccination of dogs. Whether or not your dog would benefit from the vaccination will very much depend on the risk of your dog becoming exposed. Factors to consider are how active your dog is and if you live in, or regularly travel to tick-endemic areas.

    To date, veterinary experts have been unable to form a consensus about the best use of the Lyme disease vaccine, so there are no official guidelines for your vet to follow6. Nevertheless, they will be able to discuss with you whether the Lyme disease vaccine could be beneficial for your pet. It should be added that you would still need to continue with all other preventative measures, even if your pet is vaccinated.

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