How Can Lyme Disease Be Diagnosed
Make an appointment to see your vet if you think your pet may be suffering from Lyme disease.
To diagnose Lyme disease, your veterinarian will take a thorough history of your pet’s health, then run a series of tests including blood tests, urine analysis, fecal exam and x-rays. Fluid from your pet’s affected joints may be drawn in order to be analyzed for signs of Lyme.
Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms: Six Indicators
Unfortunately, Lyme disease is quite common in dogs. So what are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs? Below are the dog Lyme disease symptoms to look out for:
- Joint swelling.
The above symptoms may lead to kidney failure, which has the possibility to be fatal. Other health complications include serious cardiac or neurological problems.
To know whether your dog is exhibiting symptoms, having a pet camera may help so you can monitor your dog at home. One such camera is the Petcube Cam which is a smart, affordable, HD camera, that also has a 24/7 Online Vet service. With products like these, you get peace of mind when it comes to looking after your beloved pet/s.
Will Ticks Lay Eggs In My House
Ticks can lay their eggs in different parts of the home. However, they typically lay their eggs near baseboards, window and door surrounds, furniture, edges of rugs, and curtains. Test for Lyme disease from home with LetsGetChecked. Get free shipping, medical support, and fast results from accredited labs.
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My Dog Tested Positive For Lyme Disease: Now What
This spring, dog owners may have noticed that we are using a different heartworm test this year. The test is called a 4DX and it detects antibodies to heartworm plus the tick borne diseases Lyme, Erlichia, and Anaplasma.
It can be scary and confusing to get positive results, so Id like to take a few posts to go over what positive results on theses tests mean and what we recommend doing about them. This post will focus on Lyme.
First: Dont panic! A positive Lyme test does not necessarily mean your dog has an active Lyme infection right now requiring treatment. It means that at some point your dog has been exposed to the Lyme organism and produced antibodies. The test does not tell us if the exposure was recent or in the past or whether your dog requires treatment.
How do we tell the difference? Primarily by whether your dog is currently showing symptoms of Lyme disease or not and some additional testing. Only about 5% of dogs exposed to Lyme disease will become sick the rest successfully fight the bacteria off and show no or very mild symptoms. Symptoms of Lyme disease may wax and wane and include lethargy, high fever, loss of appetite, lameness , and enlarged lymph nodes.
If most dogs dont get sick from exposure to Lyme and a positive test doesnt necessarily mean a dog needs treatment, why do we do it or care about a positive test? There are a few reasons:
Soooo after all of that, what do we actually DO if a dog tests positive?
Karen Christopherson DVM CVA
For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted
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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Preventing Lyme Disease In Dogs
If possible, keep your dog away from tick-infested environments where Lyme disease is common.
The most effective way to prevent Lyme disease and protect pets from other tick-borne diseases is to use flea and tick prevention.
Your veterinarian can prescribe a variety of prescription flea and tick options, including collars, topical solutions, and tablets and chews that kill and repel ticks. These products should be used under a veterinarian’s supervision and according to the label’s directions.
If you live in an area where ticks are abundant, Lyme vaccines are available. However, not all dogs are a good candidate for the vaccine. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the Lyme vaccination is right for your dog.
1. Lyme Disease. Companion Animal Parasite Council. https://capcvet.org/guidelines/lyme-disease/.
2. Littman MP, Gerber B, Goldstein RE, Anna M, Michael L, George RL. ACVIM consensus update on Lyme borreliosis in dogs and cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2018 :887-903. doi:10.1111/jvim.15085
What Happens To A Dog With Untreated Lyme Disease
Pet Owner Version Topic Resources Lyme disease, which is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and transmitted through the bite of a tick, affects domestic animals and humans. At least 4 known species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease.
However, the great majority of Lyme disease transmissions are due to the bite of a very tiny tick commonly called the deer tick, or black-legged tick. The scientific name of the tick involved on the west coast is Ixodes pacificus and Ixodes scapularis in the northeast and Midwest. Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus are the primary vectors in Europe and Asia.
It is important to note that ticks themselves do not cause Lyme disease they harbor and transmit the bacteria that cause it. Although the tick prefers certain creaturessuch as voles, white-footed mice, or deerupon which to feed during the various stages of its life cycle, it is quite willing to feed on people or dogs.
Regardless of its stage of development , if the tick carries the bacteria in its body, people and dogs can become infected if bitten. Once a tick attaches, it takes 1-2 days for it to transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so prompt removal of ticks is important.
Risk of transmission is highest during periods when the nymphs and adults are actively seeking hosts. Lyme disease in dogs has been reported in every state in the United States, but certain geographical areas are much more likely to harbor bacteria-carrying ticks than others.
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How Likely Is Your Dog To Get Lyme Disease
- Migrating deer, birds, and other wildlife affected by ticks often wander into developed areas, or on common walking trails. If the wildlife that wanders close to your property carries an infected tick, your dog is still at-risk of catching Lyme disease. Only around 5-10% of dogs show symptoms of Lyme disease.
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Most Of The Tick Control Products We Use Dont Repel Ticks
There are many good options for flea and tick preventatives on the market. Theres the Lyme vaccine. Theres the more old-school route of tick collars. And there are perhaps the most commonly used monthly topical and oral options.
If youre one of the countless pet owners who gives their dog a chewable medication or squirts a preventative oil on their skin, you might be surprised to learn that neither of those tick control tactics actually repel the little bloodsuckers from your dogs body.
Owners come to us and say, Well, you know, were using this flea and stuff, but we still see ticks on our dog, recalls Bloom, who practices veterinary medicine in a heavily wooded section of New Jersey. Most of these flea and tick products will not actually repel the tick, will not keep the tick from walking onto your dog, and will not keep the tick from biting your dog. What theyll do is theyll kill the tick after the tick has bitten.
And it turns out, thats perfectly fine.
If a tick bites your dog, it can transmit the bacteria, but only if it stays attached, Bloom elaborates. If the tick is killed with less than 24 hours attachment to your dog, it wont transmit disease.
If youre concerned about ticks hitching a ride into your house, though, there are some products that do physically repel ticks a tick collar, for example. But Goldstein argues thats not always in your familys best interest.
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How Much Does It Cost To Check A Dog For Lyme Disease
Average Cost of Treatment 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.
Treating Dog Lyme Disease
If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable . Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but other antibiotics are also effective.
Treatment usually takes at least 4 weeks, and longer courses may be necessary in some cases. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory if your dog is especially uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate the infection from Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Symptoms may resolve but then return at a later date, and the development of kidney disease in the future is always a concern.
Administering the antibiotics properly to your dog reduces the likelihood of chronic consequences.
Improvement in sudden inflammation of the joints caused by Borrelia should be seen after 3-5 days of antibiotic treatment. If there is no improvement within 3-5 days, your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your dog.
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And The Murky Scarier Part
Less easy one. Asymptomatic animals. First question, is it worth doing the Quant C6 test in these animals? Well, maybe. There is no evidence that antibody levels as measured by this test correlates to whether or not the dog will become symptomatic and, if so, the severity of the disease. Is it worth treating asymptomatic animals with a course of doxycycline? Well, maybe. There are arguments for this, primarily of the if we dont treat will my animal get worse later? variety-no one knows the answer.
Arguments against include: overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance , doxycycline can lead to unwanted side effects and, finally, back to most of these dogs will not get sick. So whats the answerthat, for me, leads to the most concerning of all the potential consequences of Lyme disease.
A small percentage of dogs that get Lyme disease may get Lyme nephritis. This is a kidney disease thought to be caused by antibody/antigen immune complex formation that are deposited in the kidneys and lead to acute renal failure. These dogs have, unfortunately, a universally grave prognosis. They go downhill and die very quickly even with aggressive treatment. How can you tell if this rare consequence will occur in your dog? you cant. BUT it does help answer whether or not you should treat asymptomatic dogs.
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.
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Which Antibodies Does The Vaccine From Merial Induce
It is a recombinant vaccine based on Osp A. Vaccinated animals should develop high antibody levels to OspA and maintain negative antibody levels to the remaining two antigens. Infected/non-infected animals can be identified based on OspC and OspF antibody values. Detection of the early Lyme infection stage is possible after using this vaccine.
The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Limping Lyme disease can cause swollen, painful joints. This is the biggest indicator of the disease since the other symptoms are so common as youll see in a minute.
If your pet starts limping or showing signs of lameness thats important signal. In fact, you might see your dog limping on one side for a couple of days and then the pain shifts to another leg. This shifting lameness is a distinct sign of Lyme disease and youll want to report it to your veterinarian.
Joint Swelling Swollen joints combined with limping is a good reason to contact your veterinarian and have your dog tested for Lyme disease.
Lack of Appetite If your dogs appetite suddenly decreases especially if you have a dog who is normally very excited for food, thats usually a sign your dog isnt feeling well. While this symptom alone could have any number of causes, if this symptom shows up in concert with others on this list, Lyme disease may be the culprit.
Sluggish If your pet also seems low energy, thats a useful signal too. Lethargy and low appetite are indicators that something is off.
Fever One way to tell if your dog has a fever is to touch his nose. A healthy nose is cool and damp. A hot and dry nose is an indication of a fever.
Except for the shifting lameness and swollen joints, these other symptoms are generic indicators that your dog isnt feeling well. Your veterinarian will run a blood test to determine if Lyme Disease is present.
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How Long Will A Tick Stay On A Dog
Since a tick needs at least 36 hours of feeding to be engorged, an engorged tick indicates that it has been attached to your dog for at least 2 days. However, the tick can still remain attached to the dog for up to 10 days, so it is safe to assume that an engorged tick has been attached for 2 to 10 days.
What Are The Symptoms In Dogs
Dogs, like humans, contract Lyme Disease through the bite of an infected tick. Thankfully, Lyme produces symptoms in dogs just 10 percent of the time. When symptoms do manifest in dogs, the most common are lethargy and inflamed joints, which can develop into arthritis if left untreated.
Ticks will embed themselves on a host and stay there for up to 48 hours
Other symptoms can include:
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What To Expect At The Vets Office
If your pet has been diagnosed with uncomplicated Lyme disease, this is what you can expect to happen at your veterinarians office.
- Depending on the type of test used to screen for Lyme disease, a confirmatory test may be necessary.
- Urine protein screening — In general, only dogs who have symptoms of Lyme disease or protein in their urine should be treated with antibiotics.
- Dogs with protein in their urine should have regularly scheduled rechecks to monitor their condition.
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.
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Can Dog Ticks Infest Your House
Most ticks have no interest in coming indoors. However, brown dog ticks can be enticed indoors through small cracks and crevices in homes that arent well maintained. If this happens and ticks start laying eggs, you could have a full-blown infestation on your hands.
Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease
Both humans and dogs can get Lyme disease through infection of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The infection spreads through deer tick bites, known as Ixodesscapularis and Ixodespacificus. While cases have been reported in all 50 states, some regions are more prone to ticks than others. The Ixodes scapularis is present in the Midwest and Northeast, and the Ixodes pacificus lives on the west coast.
Ticks drink blood and prefer to feed on animals like voles, mice, and deer, but they donât avoid dogs. Once the tick bites your dog, they need to feed on it for a day or two to transfer the harmful bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. Peak infection times are in the spring when the tick is in the nymph stage, or spring and fall when adult ticks are looking for a host to feed on.
Over the last 20 years, the rate of Lyme disease cases in humans reported to the Centers for Disease Control has doubled. Dogs are even at a higher risk of Lyme disease because they spend a lot of time outside and are more exposed to ticks. If a dog gets bitten, the chance of becoming infected with Lyme disease is around 50%.
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