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Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease

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Efficacy Of The Vaccine

How to Tell if Your Dog or Pet Has Lyme Disease

These vaccines are extremely safe and, in conjunction with tick removal and control, prevent B burgdorferi infection and clinical Lyme disease, including Lyme nephritis.

The anecdotal evidence for this fact is overwhelming, but it has also been shown prospectively in multiple controlled studies in experimental infection and in the field. Following are just a few of many examples of such evidence in the field.

  • Levy showed excellent field efficacy of canine Lyme disease vaccination in 2003.10
  • In 2010, Hebert and Eschner proved the efficacy of the Lyme disease prevention protocol, including vaccination in a large Rhode Island practice.11
  • In a population of guide dogs in New York, implementation of strict tick control and mandatory Lyme disease vaccination regimen reduced the number of Lyme nephritis cases from approximately 10/year to less than 1/year over 7 years.12

What The Research Says About Lyme Disease In Dogs

Swiss researcher Dr Thomas Rau went to areas where Lyme was common. There he studied groups of farmers who were likely exposed to Lyme.

And he found something interesting

80% of the farmers had Lyme disease, but of that 80%, only 2% showed any symptoms.

That means the vast majority of the farmers with Lyme disease were able to fight it off on their own.

But why was that?

Dr Rau decided to find out. And this is where it gets interesting

Dr Rau discovered that 100% of the people with full blown Lyme symptoms had other viruses. Ones that already stressed the immune system.

This is in line with current research that looked into cases of Lyme disease in the 90s. It revealed a link between existing health issues and Lyme disease symptoms.

What Does A Dog With Lyme Disease Look Like

Many animals can have Lyme disease and show no signs. In dogs, the most common signs include fever, loss of appetite, painful or swollen joints, lameness that comes and goes, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy. If Lyme disease is left untreated it can lead to damage in the kidneys, nervous system, and heart.

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Lyme Disease From Adult Ticks

Adult ticks will seek new hosts throughout the fall. Their peak activity between late October and early November.

Adults prefer taller vegetation. Theyre usually seen 3 off the ground on high grasses or leaves. Adults often use deer as hosts but theyre also happy with humans, dogs or horses.

Its believed that 50% of adult ticks carry Lyme disease in endemic areas of the Northeast.

While adult ticks can carry Lyme disease, theyre less likely to pass it on to their host.

This is because theyre larger and easier to detect within the first 24 to 36 hours.

Note: the timing of peak activity for each life stage of the tick may differ depending on the area you live. Check with local health departments for peak tick activity where you live.

Arthritis Triggered By Lyme Disease Diagnosis:

Lyme Disease in Dogs: Most Important Information for You

My dog has Lyme disease and cant walk what should I do? Lyme disease-induced arthritis is distinct from other forms of arthritis, such as those caused by trauma or degenerative joint disease, that your veterinarian will concentrate on diagnosing. An immune-mediated disorder might potentially cause the symptoms. Your doctor can check the bones in your aching joints using X-rays.

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Check Your Dog Daily For Ticks

Of course, no preventative is 100% effective. So, you should also check your dog for ticks every 24 hours, especially if youve walked in at-risk areas. This should prevent ticks feeding for long enough to transmit infection. Remember ticks can be tiny! Carefully check all over focusing around the ears, eyes, collar area, tail base, between the legs, armpits and between the toes.

First Do No Harm: Lyme Disease Vaccination May Present More Risks Than Benefits

Meryl P. Littman, VMD, Diplomate ACVIM

When veterinary clinicians decide whether to recommend a particular vaccine for a particular patient, risks and benefits are weighed. The vaccinometer tool, developed by Larry Glickman, was designed to help practitioners determine whether or not to recommend a vaccine.1

As we investigate Lyme disease vaccination, the questions posed by the vaccinometer help highlight many unanswered questions and potential risks related to this vaccine. With these concerns in mind, I choose first do no harm. In other words, if we use proper tick control, vaccination is unnecessary.

Question:What is the prevalence and risk of exposure/infection in your area ?

Answer: Risk of Lyme disease exposure/infection is high in my area, but proper tick control lowers the risk greatly.

The CDC website2 shows that 95% of human Lyme disease is found in 12 endemic states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper Midwest U.S. In some endemic areas, seroprevalence in healthy dogs is as high as 70% to 90%.3 In high-risk areas, risk of exposure can be lowered dramatically with adequate tick control, which also decreases the risk for other tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Question:How great is the risk of severe disease once the dog is infected ?

Answer:Risk of Lyme disease becoming severe is low, but possibly somewhat higher in retriever dogs.

Question:How effective is the vaccine?

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Can Lyme Disease In Dogs Be Cured

And now for your sigh of relief: Yes, Lyme disease in dogs can be cured if the treatment is applied in time. Thats why its super important to take your dog for a checkup if you suspect they were bitten by a tick, even if they dont show any active symptoms.

Lyme disease in dogs is serious, but it is well within your power as a pet parent to help your dog steer clear of this condition. Some pet insurance providers, like Pumpkin, provide optional preventive care benefits that can help cover the costs of the Lyme disease vaccine, as well as a yearly vector-borne disease test. With proper preventive care, as well as treatment if your dog becomes infected, those ticks dont have to be so terrifying! Dr Wooten assures us. And you and your pooch can enjoy plenty of happy, healthy days ahead.

How Is The Lyme Multiplex Assay Different From The Assay My Veterinarian Can Perform

Dog dies just minutes after receiving vaccination for lyme disease

Your veterinarian can perform a quick assay in-house that checks for antibodies against only one B. burgdorferi surface protein. The in-house assay cannot detect early infection, cannot determine vaccination status, and does not quantify the amount of antibodies your animal is producing. Quantifying antibodies is an important measure for successful treatment and to confirm cure from Lyme disease.

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Lyme Disease In Pets Symptoms And Treatment

Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Joint swelling

Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.

Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.

Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.

Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, its important to follow your veterinarians advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for the disease.

Can I Give My Dog Lyme Disease Or Vice Versa

You cant give your dog Lyme disease, nor can your dog infect you. However, if either one of you has a tick, you should both be checked out by a medical professional. Its entirely possible that the tick may have traveled from your body to your dogs, or vice versa, without you realizing it. If you have an open wound, there is alsoa slight chance that the bacteria from the tick can pass through it, so make sure to be extra vigilant to keep yourself safe in those cases.

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Video Answer: Dogs Can Get A Lyme Disease Vaccine Why Can’t Humans

Lyme disease can cause a slower onset of signs such as arthritis, skin rash or kidney problems occasionally the chronic pain will cause aggression in infected animals.

There have been reported cases of dogs who are typically well mannered, now growling, lunging and attempting to bite.

Dogs infected with Lyme disease are more lethargic, which means they will act more tired instead of being awake and energetic.

Body temperature elevation is often association with lethargy.

The Lyme Vaccination For Dogs Isnt Foolproof

Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

The shot isnt 100 percent effective, says Dr. Mengel.

But, Dr. Mengel adds, anecdotally, many practices report seeing lower numbers of dogs testing positive for exposure to the bacteria that causes Lyme since using the vaccine in practice over several years.

The Lyme vaccine cannot replace good tick control, because it is not completely effective at preventing Lyme disease, and it does nothing to protect against the many other tick-borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, says Dr. Brevitz.

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Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection

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.

Final Thoughts On Lyme Disease In Dogs

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks. Dogs are most likely to pick up ticks in wooded, bushy, or grassy areas. Lyme disease in dogs most commonly causes joint pain and fever. However, symptoms do vary. It is potentially a very serious illness, with long term consequences.

If your dog shows any of the symptoms listed here, contact your vet straight away. Remember, prevention is better than cure! Check your dog daily for ticks and speak with your vet about tick prevention.

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Diagnosing And Treating Your Dog

Diagnosing your dog for Lyme disease requires the veterinarian to run an antibody test. This test takes a closer look at the bodys immunity. The response of the immune system is measurable by the test.

The experts can see whether the antibody for Lyme disease is present for making a correct diagnosis. This will show that the dogs body has been fighting the disease. If the blood reports show a high volume of antibodies then your veterinarian can make a diagnosis. Once the experts confirm the presence of the infection, they will then start the treatment.

Fortunately, the treatment of Lyme disease is straightforward and includes taking antibiotics and painkillers. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available. Scientists continue to work on developing a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease.

Should You Vaccinate Your Dog For Lyme Disease

Dogs can get a Lyme disease vaccine. Why cant humans?

There are several vaccines available for Lyme, each of which work slightly differently. There are different strains of B. burgdorferi spirochetes in different environments, and each produces different outer surface proteins . Lyme vaccines are made with different combinations of outer surface proteins, and work differently based on what proteins they include.

OspA is produced by spirochetes in a nutrient-poor environment, such as inside a tick that hasnt fed, and is consistent across B. burgdorferi strains. If your dog has received a vaccine based on OspA, the OspA antibodies that are circulating in her bloodstream will enter a tick when it bites and attack the spirochetes in the ticks midgut. That means the spirochete is targeted before it even enters your dog, and because of this, just about every Lyme vaccine includes it. The downside is that your dog must have a high level of circulating antibodies in order for the vaccine to be effective. Antibody production varies from dog to dog, and a series of titers would be necessary to know how your dogs immune system responds to the vaccine and how long immunity remains. Because the dogs immune system is never directly challenged by the spirochete, there is also no potential for immune memory.

Some vaccines combine both OspA and OspC for dual coverage. Vanguard has developed a vaccine that combines chunks of seven different OspC proteins along with OspA.

Lyme Vaccines on the Market Today

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Most Dogs Never Get Sick

A study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. In the experiment, researchers infected beagles with Lyme disease. Yet none of the adult dogs showed any symptoms of the disease.

They used beagle puppies. This is because puppies would have weaker immune systems than adult dogs. They showed about four days of transient symptoms such as fever and lameness in the same study.

After four days of on-and-off symptoms, the pups became asymptomatic. This means their bodies cleared the infection without any treatment.

Meryl P Littman was the lead reaearcher. She explains exposure to Lyme disease is common, but the disease isnt.

95% of exposed dogs dont get sick, but they become Lyme antibody-positive on tests, which may scare people into thinking they need to be treated, she says. In some areas in New England, 70 90% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive. At PennVet, we found about 40% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive in our area.

So, it seems that Lyme disease isnt all that common. Dogs arent that likely to get it, even when infected.

Is There A Vaccination For Lyme Disease That Will Guard My Dog

A safe and effective Lyme disease vaccine for dogs is available now commercially. For the first few weeks after receiving this vaccination, they will receive it twice, two to four weeks apart. Immunity must be maintained by regular re-vaccination. Immunity must be re-established annually by re-vaccination. Your pets activity and risk assessment will decide whether they need a Lyme disease vaccination.

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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.

For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted

Q& A with Dr. Leilani Alvarez, DVM on Lyme Disease in Dogs ...

Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.

However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.

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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.

How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs

Tick controlis the best way to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Check your dog for ticks daily and remove them immediately. This is especially important in peak tick season and after your dog spends time in areas where ticks are known to thrive. Keep grass and brush trimmed in your yard so ticks have fewer places to hide. Consider treating your yard for ticks if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent.

Tick prevention products are great at keeping ticks from attaching to dogs. Many flea control products also contain ingredients to kill ticks. Ask your veterinarian about the best tick control options for your dog and be sure to follow your vet’s advice when using these products.

Your vet may recommend vaccination against Lyme disease if you live in an area where it is common. Many veterinary specialists do not recommend routine vaccination because so few dogs develop symptoms of Lyme disease and those that do tend to respond well to treatment. Vaccination is not a substitute for tick preventatives.

Vaccination is not 100 percent effective and is only helpful in dogs that have not been exposed to B. burgdorferi. However, vaccination before exposure can help prevent dogs from getting Lyme disease and also prevent them from becoming a carrier of the bacteria .

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