What Is Canine Lyme Disease
The risk for you and your pet specifically dogs of contracting Lyme disease is increasingly on the rise across areas of Ontario.
Incidence of Canine Lyme Disease easily keeps pace with the increased incidence of the disease in humans, and probably more. Although likely true that the incidence of Lyme disease is higher in dogs than humans, there is no national or provincial system for capturing the incidence of Canine Lyme Disease.
Lacking a national or provincial system for tracking, reviewing the human data for Lyme disease is important as an indication of the exposure and potential infection in dogs.
A Ticks Life
Ticks dont fly, jump or blow around with the wind. They are sluggish and lumbering and can be as small as a poppy seed. Bites are usually painless, so you or your pet may not know that theres been a bite.
Where Do Ticks Live And How Do They Get On Dogs
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods especially where deer populations are high. Ticks do not jump but only crawl and in seeking a host, will latch onto your dog when they pass by.
Lyme disease was named after a high number of cases that occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, but cases in dogs have been reported in every state in the United States. However, Lyme disease is more common in some geographical locations specifically, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and northern Pacific coast. Dog owners who live or spend time in these areas should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the preventative measures available.
What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
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How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
If you think your dog has Lyme disease, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet will conduct a blood test to see if your dog tests positive for Lyme disease. If positive, your vet will prescribe antibiotics to help eliminate the bacteria from your dogs bloodstream.
Treatment is a long process, and sometimes your vet will have to alter the prescribed antibiotic because the bacteria can become immune to certain medications.
Be sure to follow your vets instructions with administering any medication to your dog. Most antibiotics require the full course of medication to ensure the infection clears from the dogs system.
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
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Lyme Disease In Dogs Can Dogs Get It
Many of us are aware that ticks can spread illnesses through their bite.
Lyme disease is one of the many diseases that ticks can harbor, infecting both humans and dogs with a simple bite.
Lyme disease is a realistic threat in many parts of the country, making it so important for dog owners to be educated on the details of this condition.
In this article we will get into the details of Lyme disease in our canine friends, and help you better understand your dogs prognosis if they are diagnosed with this tick-borne illness.
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Dog And Lyme Disease: The Good The Bad And The Scary
Lyme disease, just the name alone is enough to give veterinarians a headache. It is a complicated combination of exposure, infection, clinical signs, prevention and treatment. All of this is wrapped up in multiple controversies: is my animal at risk? Should we vaccinate? Should we test on a regular basis? What should be done once an animal tests positive? This article is going to try and sort out these questions and give some advice. But always remember whether it is Lyme or any other disease process the best place to discuss information, testing and treatment options is going to be with your veterinarian.
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Small Bumps On The Skin
These small, oval-shaped arachnids change colour and size as they feed. The common ticks in Canada start off as small as an apple seed. Once they attach to a host and fill with blood, however, their body gets larger and engorged and turns a greyish colour. At this point they are much more visible and are around 1 cm in diameter.
Ticks attach to your dogs skin, so they are hidden by your dogs fur. For this reason, once they attach you are more likely to feel them on your dog before you can actually see them.
Carefully run your hands over your dogs body to feel for any small bumps on their skin which could be a tick. Ticks like to settle in specific areas, so pay particular attention to your dogs head, neck, groin, feet , armpits and ears.
You may want to use a flashlight to get a better look inside your dogs ear. If you spot a tick inside their ear you should bring your dog to your veterinarian rather than trying to remove it yourself.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If you feel sick after having spent time in areas where ticks might live, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If you received a Lyme disease diagnosis and you dont feel well after taking all of your antibiotics, contact your provider. This is especially true if you have symptoms like a stiff neck or mental confusion.
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What Is A Tick
- A tick is a parasite that is 3 to 5 mm in size. They are so small that it can be hard to spot them immediately.
- They are the most common trouble for pets, especially the ones that roam outside more often.
- They feed on animals blood. Often time they go unnoticed because of their small size and painless bites.
- There are also different types of ticks. A deer tick is a common kind in the United States.
Is There A Vaccine That Will Protect My Dog From Lyme Disease
A safe and generally effective vaccine is available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two- to four-week intervals.
“Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.”
Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity. Vaccination against Lyme disease will be determined by your pet’s lifestyle and individual risk assessment. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have regarding the type and frequency of vaccination with your veterinarian.
|Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM
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Signs Your Dog Has Lyme Disease
Ticks can cause all kinds of problems for dogs, but Lyme disease is one of the most serious. When a dog is infected with Lyme disease, you may notice that they are lethargic and running a fever. Other symptoms include joint pain and loss of appetite. Leg and body pain may also be present, and swollen lymph nodes are also a possibility. These symptoms may cause your dog to be more still than normal or walk with a stiff, painful gait.
Symptoms may seem to vanish only to reappear later. Lyme disease has many long-term effects, and it is a difficult disease to diagnose because the symptoms dont stand out in any way. To diagnose Lyme disease, your veterinarian will ask you about the possibility of tick exposure and watch any symptoms, as well as complete diagnostic testing. Once your dog has been properly diagnosed, your veterinarian will provide you with treatment options.
Since all dog breeds are susceptible to Lyme disease, it is a good idea to use flea and tick preventatives year-round, especially if you take your dog hunting or on other outdoor adventures. In addition, it is a good idea to get your pooch vaccinated against Lyme disease.
Lyme disease symptoms that you need to watch for include:
Other signs your dog may have Lyme disease include:
- Noticable Tick Bites
- Swollen And Sore Joints
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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Where Are Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease Found
Though Lyme disease occurs in every state, risk of infection varies. The vast majority of cases are from the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and the Pacific case, though recent changes in deforestation, and migrating bird and deer populations have impacted these statistics. Ticks are most often found in farm fields, wooded areas, shrubs and long grass.
How Can My Vet Diagnose Lyme Disease
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect that your pet may have contracted Lyme disease.
At this appointment, your vet will ask several questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your companions medical history and then conduct a variety of tests ranging from a Heartworm/Tick test , bloodwork, urinalysis and possibly x-rays.
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How Much Does It Cost To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
Average Cost of Treatment
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.
How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Tick control and prevention methods significantly reduce the likelihood of infection. Maintaining antibodies against B. burgdorferi through vaccination can further protect your animal. Antibody amounts and duration of vaccine antibodies can vary in individuals. Verifying your animals antibody response to vaccination helps to assure durable protection.
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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:
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.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease
The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”
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Can Lyme Disease In Dogs Affect Humans
Its unfortunate that bacterial infection brought by Lyme disease could be transmitted to humans. This is otherwise known as Lyme borreliosis.
There are a lot of people who show early symptoms of the infection with the most common being rash around the ticks bite.
As per accounts of previously affected individuals, the rash developed in a span of 3 to 30 days after being bitten. Its comparable to a target on a dartboard with the edges seem a bit raised. Usually, the diameter of the rash bite is roughly 15cm or 6 inches but could be smaller or bigger.
Common Misconceptions About Lyme Disease:
1. If a dog tests positive for Lyme disease, it means she has it.
2. Dogs are much more likely than people to become ill from Lyme disease.
3. A dog infected with Lyme disease will tend to start showing symptoms within a month, and sometimes within the first 18 hours.
4. Dogs can transmit Lyme disease to people.
5. Lyme disease strikes only in warm weather.
A lot of times, a dog will test positive for Lyme disease, and her owners get nervous that their pet is sick and needs treatment, but the dog is fine. How can that be?
Its because testing positive for Lyme simply means that antibodies to the illness have been detected in the dogs blood. It does not mean that the animals body is actually being affected by the disease. How can that be?
The fact that a dog can test positive for Lyme disease yet not actually have it in a way that matters has led to a lot of nervous owners, and sometimes, even veterinarians who have over-treated. To clear up the misconceptions, heres what you need to know.
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Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It
The biggest key here is to be very careful and very quick, Dr. Wooten advises. This is because your dog is most likely to contract Lyme disease from a tick thats been feeding for 12 hours. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Protect your hands from potential bacteria and bites with a tissue or disposable gloves.
- Get a great set of tweezers dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Use these to remove any moving ticks you find immediately by pulling it straight up and off of your dog.
- If the tick isnt moving and is stuck on your dogs skin, get your tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight up and off of your pet. Be careful not to twist your tweezers, as this may rip off only part of the tick and leave its mouth on your pet and leave your dog at risk of infection.
- If necessary, ask someone to help restrain your dog while you remove the tick.
- Place the tick in rubbing alcohol or crush it. If you crush the tick, be sure not to get any of it on your skin.