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Effects Of Untreated Lyme Disease


Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

One Man’s Experience with Lyme Disease

Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular rash around the tick bite. The rash:

  • usually develops around 3 to 30 days after you’ve been bitten
  • is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board
  • will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised
  • may get bigger over several days or weeks
  • is typically around 15 cm across, but it can be much larger or smaller

Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.

Around 1 in 3 people with Lyme disease won’t develop a rash.

Some people with Lyme disease also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:

  • tiredness

Remember to tell them you’ve been bitten by a tick.

When Left Untreated Lyme Disease Can Lead To Long

Editors note: This article has been updated from an earlier version posted in July 2021.

If youre a fan of spending time in the great outdoors, youre probably familiar with the routine of checking yourself for ticks during and after a hike or camping trip. But do you know why its so important to catch tick bites early to prevent Lyme disease?

When a tick bites you, they can transfer harmful bacteria theyre carrying to your body, says emergency medicine physician Dr. Lara Phillips. For those living in the northeastern region of the United States specifically, where deer ticks are common, tick bites are associated with Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Before you start panicking about the tick you found latched onto your skin last weekend, its important to know if youre at risk for Lyme disease. A tick needs to be attached to your skin for at least 36 to 48 hours to transfer Lyme disease to your system, says Dr. Phillips. And we generally see spikes in cases of Lyme diseases in the late spring and early fall, when ticks are in the nymph stage of their life cycles.

Lyme Disease and Facial Paralysis

One potential long-term side effect of Lyme disease is facial paralysis. Many people dont know this, but Lyme disease-associated facial palsy appears in about 5% of patients diagnosed with Lyme disease, says Stacey Baer, facial nerve rehabilitation specialist at Jeffersons Facial Nerve Center.

Preventing Lyme Disease

What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Lyme Disease

Initial side effects of Lyme disease include rash, low energy, headache and stiff neck, according to WebMD. Stage two side effects include memory problems, and pain or weakness in arms and legs. The third stage may cause joint pain and swelling, numbness or tingling, and no control over facial muscles.

The Lyme disease rash often begins three to 30 days after the tick bite and appears as a bulls eye shape around the tick bite and slowly expands, notes Mayo Clinic. It can eventually develop on other areas of the body.

The rash doesnt typically cause itching or pain. The rash may also come with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills and body aches. The later stage side effects occur in the weeks or months after the bite, if the Lyme disease goes untreated.

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What Causes Lyme Disease In Dogs

Dogs contract Lyme disease through the bite of infected ticks. These ticks contain the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is a type of organism known as a spirochete.

Common Causes

There are at least four species of ticks in the world known to carry Lyme disease:

  • Ixodes pacificus

  • Ixodes ricinus

  • Ixodes persulcatus

In the United States, the most common source of transmission is the Deer Tick or Black-Legged Tick, scientifically known as Ixodes pacificus on the West Coast and Ixodes scapularis on the East Coast. In Europe, the Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks carry Lyme disease.

These ticks are tiny, which can make them hard to see or feel on your dog, and all stages of the tick can carry and spread the disease, although adult ticks tend to be the most infectious. It typically takes 24 to 48 hours after attaching to a host for the tick to spread the Lyme-causing bacteria, although transmission of disease can sometimes occur much more rapidly.

Certain areas are more prone to ticks than others. Wooded or grassy areas and areas with large tick populations pose the highest risk of infection. Ticks tend to be most active in the spring and fall when they are actively seeking hosts, which increases the risk of Lyme transmission. However, recent evidence indicates that ticks are also active in winter, as long as the temperature is above freezing.

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How To Prevent Post

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While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.

If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.

The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:

  • a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite

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Visual Auditory And Sensory Symptoms

If the bacteria that causes Lyme disease moves into the central nervous system, it sensory issues. This can include sensitivity to light as well as other visual disturbances.

In some cases, Lyme disease can cause auditory issues. According to a 2021 study , Lyme disease may contribute to the development of lesions that may cause sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

The researchers noted that people with long-duration infections were more likely to experience permanent and irreversible changes in the cochlea or auditory nerve.

What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease

  • Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.

  • There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.

  • The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.

  • If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.

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Is Lyme Disease Completely Curable

Yes, you can completely recover from Lyme disease. Most individuals infected by this condition eliminate the bacteria altogether after a 2-to-4-week course of antibiotic treatment.

While chronic Lyme disease can linger for months, it is rare to sustain the symptoms for years. Unless in rare cases when the condition is not diagnosed correctly.

However, if the infection escalated to multisystemic complications, the treatment could be more complex and probably take longer to complete. Likewise, it could retain permanent neurological and joint damages.

Four Safe & Effective Vaccines

Living with Late Lyme Disease

Compared to humans, dogs are lucky. There are currently 4 extremely safe, effective, and reliable vaccines7-9 on the market that have all been through the United States Drug Administration licensing requirements for safety, efficacy, purity, and potency.

All available canine Lyme disease vaccines produce borreliacidal antibodies in the dog in response to vaccinal outer surface protein A . These antibodies work in the ticks gut to bind the bacteria during the blood meal, sterilizing the gut of the tick and preventing transmission of bacteria into the dog.

OspC is the main immunogenic protein exhibited by Borrelia in the ticks salivary glands and in the dogs body during natural infection. Three of the current Lyme disease vaccines contain 2 strains of inactivated Borrelia isolates1 OspA producing strain and 1 unique OspC producing strain, which perhaps adds an additional layer of protection.

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Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease

  • Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
  • Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
  • Can be debilitating and prolonged

Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.

The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.

Reducing The Risk Of Complications

If you develop symptoms of meningitis, its vital to get early medical attention. Timely diagnosis and treatment with antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, or any needed treatments will prevent the infection from progressing. Similarly, noninfectious meningitis can be treated more effectively at an early stage.

Steps to prevent complications include:

  • Seizure prevention and treatment during the acute stage of meningitis can help reduce the chances of a post-meningitis seizure disorder.
  • Management of inflammation and monitoring changes in intracranial pressure during the early stage can prevent long-term problems with hydrocephalus.
  • Systemic effects, such as blood clots and sepsis, must be treated effectively to reduce the risk of permanent neurological issues or death from meningitis.

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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Acute And Late Stage Lyme

One reason chronic Lyme disease is harder to detect and treat than Lyme at earlier stages is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are more wide-ranging and varied. Chronic Lyme disease can cause symptoms of early Lyme disease such as fatigue and muscle aches to recur, but it can also cause new symptoms that affect different parts of the body.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

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Lyme disease symptoms in dogs may take 7 to 21 days or even longer to appear after infection from a tick bite.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • Arthritis that may affect different joints on different days, possibly causing lameness
  • Fever
  • Depression

Left untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys.

Chronically infected dogs may develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction, called Lyme nephropathy or Lyme nephritis.

This condition is most likely caused by an abnormal immune response and may lead to kidney failure.

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Early And Later Stages Of Lyme Disease

In the early stages of Lyme disease, when the infection has not yet spread to the body, but only the place of tick bite is affected, one can see a red spot, with a circular rash all around it which is outwardly expanding. This is known as erythema migrans , which looks like a bulls eye. The rash is generally not painful. This type of rash is also known as target lesion. In this early infection stage, there can be muscle pain or soreness, fever and fatigue, and headaches. Rash is present in most of the cases, however, even if the rash is not present, the disease can still spread to the next stage.

In the later stages of Lyme disease, when the infection has just started to spread in the blood, the EM can develop at other places on the body, which has no direct connection with the original insect bite. Severe joint pain may start and may occur in bouts. Sometimes, a long period after the infection, people can get affected by symptoms like neck stiffness, which could be indicative of meningitis, facial palsy-on one or both sides of the face, weakness in the limbs and soreness and impairment of muscular function.

There are a few other symptoms of Lyme disease which are not very common, but can be witnessed by some affected persons. These might include irregular heartbeats, arrhythmia, and liver inflammation. Severe tiredness is seen in many affected persons.

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Features Of Lyme Disease Vaccine For Dogs

Although the syndrome now known as Lyme disease was first identified in human patients in 1975, Borrelia burgdorferi was not identified until 1981. The first canine Lyme vaccine was introduced in 1992 . The Lyme vaccine for dogs is available at most veterinary clinics, especially in areas where Lyme disease poses a significant threat. Even in low-risk areas, many veterinarians carry this vaccine in order to protect dogs traveling to Lyme-endemic areas. If your veterinarian does not carry this vaccine, they may be able to obtain it for you or direct you to another clinic where you can receive it. This vaccine does not require a specialist visit and can often be administered with your dogs other vaccinations at a routine wellness visit.

  • Lyme vaccine designed to target the 2 key outer surface proteins involved in disease transmission for a full level of protection
  • Proven to induce borreliacidal antibodies that bind to OspA and OspC, forming a complex that attacks the cell membrane and kills Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Proven to help prevent clinical disease such as arthritis as well as at the subclinical level 5
  • High level of protection: no serologic evidence of exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi following challenge with infectedI. scapularis ticks

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What Can I Do To Lower My Chances Of Getting Lyme Disease Or Any Other Disease From Ticks

Prevention begins with you! Take steps to reduce your chances of being bitten by any tick. Ticks are most active during warm weather, generally late spring through fall. However, ticks can be out any time that temperatures are above freezing. Ticks cling to vegetation and are most numerous in brushy, wooded or grassy habitats. When you are outside in an area likely to have ticks , follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:

Where Is My Dog Likely To Encounter Ticks Carrying Lyme

Lyme Disease Is On The Rise. And It’s Bad.

Lyme disease in dogs has been diagnosed across all states, however, infection rates vary from one state to another. The highest numbers of Lyme disease in dogs are reported in the Upper Midwest, Pacific Coast and Northeast regions of the United States.

Dogs contract Lyme disease by being bitten by an infected tick. Ticks of all kinds, including those carrying Lyme are most often found in wooded and grassy areas including farm fields. Ticks donât fly or jump. Instead, they find their prey by resting on the tips of grasses, shrubs, and leaves with their front legs outstretched waiting for direct contact with animals or people. As your dog brushes past, the tick simply grabs hold and latches on.

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Does Lyme Disease Treatment With Antibiotics Affect Antibody Levels

Antibiotic treatment affects the pathogen . It does not directly influence antibody titers. However, if the treatment is successful and bacteria are removed from the host, the B-cells are not further triggered to produce new antibodies. As a consequence antibodies levels decrease after treatment. Thus, antibody levels are indicators of treatment success .

Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It

The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.

But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New

Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.

In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.

In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they dont dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they dont usually come out to bite.

Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.

Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?

Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.

Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?

There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:

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What Might A Doctor Misdiagnose Lyme Disease As

Ticks can carry a variety of different organisms and diseases with them.

The lone star tick can carry a disease known as southern tick-associated rash illness. The rash it causes to a Lyme disease rash. In addition, it can cause similar symptoms to Lyme disease, including fever, fatigue, joint and muscle aches, and headache.

Sometimes It Can Produce Complications

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Meningitis usually improves when treated in a timely manner, but it can cause long-term effects and complications. Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis is more dangerous and more likely to cause persistent effects than other types of meningitis. However, all types of meningitis can become severe and life-threatening, potentially producing lasting consequences.

Meningitis is an inflammatory condition of the meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid that usually causes head pain, fevers, and fatigue. Seizures, neurological deficits, and systemic effects can occur with severe meningitis.

The condition can result from infections, inflammatory disease, or as a side effect of certain medical treatments .

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