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.
Warning Signs Of Untreated Lyme Disease In Dogs
Both humans and dogs are susceptible to a bacterial illness known as Lyme disease. The illness, which is transmitted by certain species of ticks, can create a number of health complications throughout the body, especially when left undiagnosed and untreated.
Identifying the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs can be more complicated than with humans, though, due to the different ways the illness may affect your pets health and produce symptoms. But identifying Lyme disease is crucial to getting your dog effective treatment for this condition. Avoiding doing so may lead to rare but serious health complications that may affect your dogs quality of life or even put their life at risk. Take a few minutes to educate yourself on the common Lyme symptoms in dogs, and what you can do to treat and prevent this condition.
Can My Dog Recover From Lyme Disease
Provided the disease is detected and treated effectively early enough, with the course of antibiotics signs of Lyme disease typically resolve within the first 3 days.
However, the organism that causes Lyme disease is very good at hiding and while treatment is typically successful in eliminating clinical signs, dogs that test positive for Lyme disease will remain positive for years, if not forever. If your dog tests positive but is not sick, your veterinarian will tell you whether they recommend treating at that time.
Though most dogs infected with Lyme disease will develop arthritis, the silent killer is the Lyme organism and antibodies produced after exposure, which can damage the filter in the kidneys. The impact of this form of the disease on the kidneys can easily go unnoticed until it is too late. If your vet determines that the kidneys have been affected, this can be treated and monitored before severe renal problems arise.
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Lyme Affects Some Breeds Worse Than Others
There are a couple of notable exceptions to that rule: Labradors and golden retrievers.
There is a deadly manifestation of Lyme disease in dogs, called Lyme nephritis. It’s a fatal side effect that causes the animal’s kidney to fail, and researchers have a strong suspicion that labs and golden retrievers are predisposed. And because of this, both vets we spoke to agreed that any dogs of these two breeds who test positive for Lyme should be treated with Doxycycline immediately.
Dog Lyme Disease Test
The Serology test looks for enzymes in the blood associated withLyme disease. The problem is that there are two types of vaccines. The ELISA test can tell if yourdog has the disease only if it has not been vaccinated or it if had thesubunit vaccine. If your pet had the whole cell the test cannot tell ifyour dog has the disease or a reaction to the vaccination itself.
A newer test called the Canine SNAP 3Dx or the C6 SNAP test. It isdone in your Veterinarians office and if positive a follow-up test isdone and sent to a lab to confirm the findings.
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What If Your Dog Tested Positive For Lyme Disease
A positive test does not indicate that there is an “active” Lyme infection, only that the pet was exposed/infected in the past.
It is important to know that many dogs that are positive for antibodies against Lyme infection will never develop any clinical symptoms .
Dogs may develop Lyme disease from the bite of a blacklegged tick, which may transmit bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Once ill, dogs can become feverish and lame in one or more joints. They also may exhibit sluggishness, and their lymph nodes may swell.
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
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Using Cbd Oil In Your Dogs Treatment Plan
There is anecdotal evidence that suggest CBD is a holistic solution that can improve your dogs overall mood and increase their appetite. The increase in appetite is important because Lyme disease in dogs can reduce their appetite. Although CBD oil is not a treatment for Lyme disease in dogs, it can help stimulate appetite and can help mitigate any pain or discomfort your dog may be feeling. If your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease you should speak with your trusted veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan that suits your dog.
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.
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Can My Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated
Yes. Some animals have been infected despite vaccination. The most common reasons are low or short-lasting vaccine antibodies in the individual animal. It is advisable to monitor the vaccine response annually to ensure the animal develops sufficient antibodies in response to vaccination. Vaccine antibodies can be quantified with the Lyme Multiplex assay as early as two weeks following vaccination or anytime afterwards.
What Is Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is also referred to as Lyme borreliosis, a bacterial illness that certain species of infected ticks can transmit to humans, dogs and other animals.
Since ticks dont fly or jump, they make contact with their host by lurking on the tips of long grass or bush, then quickly grabbing onto your dog when he walks by. He then crawls on to his body to look for a place to bite.
An infected tick carries the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, then bites a dog or person, transmitting the virus through the bloodstream.
Once its entered the bloodstream, the bacteria can reach different parts of the body and result in problems with specific areas or organs, including joints, as well as general illness. The disease can be transmitted after a tick has been attached to a dog for 24 to 48 hours.
Can An Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated
Yes. This has been observed that some animals can still get infected after Lyme vaccination. This can be due to a low immune response of the respective animal and/or a very high exposure rate or Lyme prevalence in the area where the animal lives. A yearly check of the OspA titer is recommended for a vaccinated animal to ensure that the animal responded with high OspA antibodies to vaccination. Please indicate the name of the vaccine and when it has been last applied on the accession form.
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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Testing For Kidney Disease
Tests to diagnose kidney disease include complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These blood tests will determine if your pet is anemic, determine white blood cell counts, measure blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and electrolytes. A urinalysis is essential for the proper interpretation of the urea and creatinine values in the serum biochemistry profile and may also provide important clues to the possible underlying cause of kidney disease. A urinalysis will also determine the specific gravity, pH, presence of blood in the urine, and the amount of protein in the urine. An evaluation of the urine sediment will determine the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystalline material, and cellular casts all of which provide information to determine the underlying cause of kidney disease in your pet. Further diagnostic tests may be recommended based on the results of these initial screening tests.
Dog Lyme Disease Symptoms
For the first week we had Taylor I noticed he was slow to get up from sleeping on his dog bed, his back legs would appear to have fallen asleep. He was not able to jump up onto our couch, which at first I figured he never learned how.
I continued to notice slight weakness in his legs and so I decided mentioned it to the vet. Never did I imagine his diagnosis would come back with Lyme disease!
Unfortunately, Lyme Disease symptoms are not always very obvious, and some dogs wont show any signs. Some symptoms to watch for would be:
Our Taylor didnt have any symptoms other than the lameness in his legs. So if I hadnt been paying close attention to him and if I hadnt mentioned it to the vet, he may have gone undiagnosed!
I highly recommend paying close attention to your dog, he will give you clues on how he is feeling. Your dog cant speak like you and me, so its our job to listen to his body language!
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Can A Dog Survive Lyme Disease
In the past, it may have been difficult for dogs to survive Lyme disease due to the inability to diagnose the disease.
If your dog does contract Lyme disease, however, they are likely to exhibit the symptoms listed above.
These symptoms are caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium in the bite of an infected tick.
The Best Way To Remove A Tick
Upon discovering a live tick on your pet, your first instinct might be to pull it off immediately. But rather than doing so with your bare hands, experts caution that patience is the safer route.
“The best way to take off every tick is with a sharpened tweezers and to kind of grab them as far down by the head as you can and pull them off,” explains Goldstein. “People ideally should wear gloves when they’re doing it, if they can, or just be careful. Theoretically, if you have a cut on your finger and you squish a tick and get the blood from the tick, you could get infected with something. So be careful not to do that.”
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Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
The symptoms of Lyme disease vary. While many dogs infected with Lyme disease may not exhibit any symptoms, others may show severe signs, including:
Bruising or unexplained bleeding
Lameness, painful or swollen joints, fever, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, and lethargy are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and can range in severity. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more serious symptoms, like damage to the kidney or the heart and nervous system.
Lyme disease commonly affects the kidneys more than the nervous system or heart. Unfortunately, it is often fatal. In cases of Lyme disease that affect the nervous system, seizure disorders and facial paralysis can occur.
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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Should I Have My Dog Tested
Antibodies can take weeks to develop. Because of this, tests for Lyme disease that are performed before the antibodies have evolved may show up as negative even if your dog is infected. If your dog is infected and is retested four to six weeks later, they should have a positive test. If you do decide to have your dog tested, you should also keep in mind that just because they test positive for antibodies does not automatically mean they have the disease. This simply means that at some point in their life they were exposed and their body mounted a response. In many cases, this makes it difficult to determine the importance of positive test results because unfortunately, there aren’t reliable tests that can identify the presence of the infecting bacteria in your dogs body.Whether or not they should be cause for concern depends on many factors, including whether or not your vet feels your dog is showing symptoms that may be consistent with lyme disease. Ultimately, you should rely on your veterinarian to decide whether or not testing for lyme disease is appropriate and should your dog test positive, what should be done with that information.
If you’re concerned about how long the testing process takes and how it may affect you or your family, keep in mind that humans cannot contract Lyme disease from an infected dog. The Ixodes tick is the primary means of transmission in people, as well as dogs.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
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
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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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, followed by amoxicillin, then azithromycin. Treatment lasts for 4 weeks. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected by being bitten by another infected tick.
The Best Protection Is Prevention
You may think of ticks as being prevalent in the woods, and thats true. Yet, they can even be in suburban backyards. Ticks prefer long grass and shrubbery so keep your grass cut short and shrubs trimmed back to minimize their hiding places.
For tick protection, your veterinarian may suggest a tablet that lasts 3 months called Bravecto. It kills fleas and ticks for 3 months. There are also some topicals and a few tick collars which will kill ticks.
The best prevention is avoidance. Ticks are attached to grasses and shrubs and low hanging tree limbs. When humans and animals brush against these, the ticks will attach to hair and clothing. When these areas are wet, the ticks are much more likely to attach.
Youll also want to know that ticks can thrive year-round especially in warmer climates like the Southeast. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendations on tick protection.
Also, give your dog a thorough check when you come in after a walk especially, if your dog was near grass or shrubs where ticks like to hide. When it comes to your pet, ticks enjoy burrowing at the base of the tail, around the ears, and in between the paws.
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