Lyme Disease In Dogs And Other Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease, too. Typical symptoms in animals include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Experts in the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine say that dogs with Lyme disease occasionally develop serious kidney disease that can be fatal.
There are ways you can reduce your pets risk for tick bites and Lyme disease. Regularly checking pets for all types of ticks, for instance, reduces the risk of infection for both pet and owner. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested areas.
Topical, oral and/or collar products are also very important in preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
There are two basic types of Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if vaccination is appropriate for your dog. There is no vaccination for cats, which do not seem susceptible to Lyme disease.
What Are The Signs Of Lyme Disease
Looking out for symptoms of Lyme disease, and checking yourself for ticks after you go to green spaces where they may be presentis very important. Prompt tick removal can reduce your chances of acquiring Lyme disease.
Rapidly recognising symptoms can ensure that if you are developing the disease you can receive the earliest diagnosis and treatment from your GP. If you are bitten by an infected tick your symptoms will typically develop 1-4 weeks after being bitten, however, they can appear anytime between 3 to30 days after exposure.
Symptoms include a spreading circular red rash, which may appear as a bulls-eye rash like the image below, as well as non-specific flu-like symptoms. Although a lot of people associate the disease with the rash, 1/3 of people dont report seeing one.
Other signs to look out for include muscle or nerve pains or a drooping facial appearance when the nerves to the muscles around the upper part of the face are affected.
If you have developed symptoms after being bitten by a tick or spending time outdoors, immediately contact your GP or call NHS 111, mentioning where you have been and if you remember being bitten.
How Long The Tick Is Attached
In general, it takes about 36 to 48 hours for Lyme bacteria to enter the bloodstream after a tick bite. So if you remove the tick within a day and a half, your risk of getting Lyme disease is substantially lowered. Using tweezers is thought to be the best approach for tick removal: carefully grab the tick near its head or mouth and do not squeeze or crush it, but instead pull gently and slowly in an upward direction.
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How Should A Tick Be Removed
Grasp the mouthparts with tweezers as close as possible to the attachment site. Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. Pull firmly and steadily upward to remove the tick. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash hands. The NYSDOH has created a video on proper tick removal and a printable card with steps on how to remove ticks . See or call a doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal. Do not attempt to remove ticks by using petroleum jelly, lit cigarettes or other home remedies because these may actually increase the chance of contracting a tick-borne disease.
How To Contract Lyme Disease
Rumors suggest there are various ways one can contract Lyme disease. Thankfully, all answers but one are true. The only way to contract Lyme disease is via a tick bite. So, if youve heard that a dog bite or anything similar can also cause Lyme disease, such an assumption is incorrect. Ticks are enough to contend with as it is!
Ticks become Lyme disease carriers by feeding on the blood of animals like mice, deer, birds, and others. Once infected with Lyme disease, ticks can then transmit the disease to other victims, including humans. Fortunately, theres a catch. Rather than being transmitted instantly, it can take roughly 24 48 hours for Lyme disease to enter our bodies. With this short window of action in mind, it is important that you conduct ticks checks after you spend time outdoors, no matter how brief. Ticks, at their smallest, can be no larger than a poppy seed, making them difficult to find. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this fight. Mosquito Squad has your back.
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How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Been Bitten By A Tick
Bloodthirsty ticks can be difficult to spot once theyve buried themselves into your pets fur and latched onto their skin.
Ticks can transmit infectious diseases, including Lyme disease, which can cause serious symptoms in dogs .
One of the greatest dangers of a tick attaching itself is that dogs often dont show any obvious signs a tick has attached. The tick may remain hidden and silently be spreading disease to your dog without you even knowing it. If you know what to look out for, however, you can reduce the risks. Use our guide to find out whether your dog has become a ticks latest meal.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not consistent and may mimic other conditions. The primary symptom is a rash, but it may not be present in up to 20% of cases.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease must be made by a healthcare provider experienced in recognizing Lyme disease. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is generally done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. This may need blood and other lab tests.
Research is underway to develop and improve methods for diagnosing Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:
- pain and swelling in the joints
- nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
- memory problems
- difficulty concentrating
Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.
A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.
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Where Are Ticks Found
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
They can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Is There A Time Of The Year When Lyme Disease Is Most Likely
Lyme is most common during late spring and summer when the nymphal ticks are more predominant, these ticks are so tiny that they are easier to miss than the adult-sized ticks . Adult ticks can still transmit Lyme disease but they are easier to spot so they are usually noticed and removed more quickly. It is adult ticks that are responsible for the occurrence of Lyme disease during the fall and early winter.
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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.
Check your dog for ticks regularly, especially after walking through grassy or wooded areas where ticks live.
Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.
Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.
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How Do You Get Lyme Disease
There is actually only one underlying cause of Lyme disease: an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is spread through the bites of infected ticks, including the deer tick and the western blacklegged tick.
“Lyme disease transmission happens when an infected tick bites you and remains attached for long enough to have a blood meal and become fully engorged,” says Dr. Kuritzkes. According to the CDC, ticks usually must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before Lyme disease bacteria can be transmitted to their host.
“In the process of sucking the blood from the person, it’s also releasing the bacteria from its salivary glands into the person’s body,” says Dr. Kuritzkes. “If you can discover and remove the tick earlier, before it’s had a chance to do this for very long, you’re much less likely to be infected.”
If a person is infected with Lyme disease, they may begin to show symptoms between three and 30 days after transmission. They may develop a red, circular rash with a white center that looks like a bull’s eye, although not everyone gets this telltale symptom.
Lyme disease can also cause flu-like symptoms, including a low-grade fever, chills, and muscle aches. A blood test can diagnose Lyme disease, and most people feel better after a 10 to 21-day course of antibiotics.
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Essential Steps When Checking For Lyme Disease
Not all people with Lyme disease develop the bulls eye rash. But if you do get it, measure the red patch around the bite to see if its expanding:
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Racial Differences In Incidence
Lyme disease is reported primarily in whites, although it occurs in individuals of all races. No genetic explanation is known for this the disparity most likely stems from social or environmental factors and possibly to the fact that erythema migrans is more difficult to diagnose in dark-skinned individuals.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.
The primary symptom is a red rash that:
Can appear several days after infection, or not at all
Can last up to several weeks
Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”
Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites
Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all
Can disappear and return several weeks later
Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:
Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:
Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles
Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate
Eye problems, including inflammation
Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:
Inflammation of the joints
Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration
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 Lyme Disease Spreads
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Infected blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Most people get Lyme disease after being bitten by:
- nymphs, which are about the size of a poppy seed
- adult female ticks, which are about the size of a sesame seed
You may not notice a tick bite because ticks are tiny and their bites are usually painless.
Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are infected with the bacteria when they feed on infected animals like:
- rodents, such as white-footed mice and chipmunks
People and other animals can get Lyme disease when an infected tick feeds on them for long enough to transmit the bacteria.
More than 40 different types of ticks live in Canada, but only 2 types spread the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in people:
Blacklegged ticks are most often found in or along the edge of forested areas. Tick habitats also include:
Ticks can be active whenever the temperature is consistently above freezing and the ground isn’t covered by snow. You’re most likely to encounter ticks during the spring, summer and fall. However, when conditions are favourable, ticks can be active at any time of the year.
Stage : Small Oval Rashes Or A Reddish Lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a childs ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
Bells palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
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Is Lyme Disease Treatable
Yes. Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics and is curable.
Most symptoms resolve quickly after the start of antibiotics, however, it can occasionally take weeks or months for all symptoms to completely subside.
The number of days of antibiotics required depends on the symptoms present at the time of diagnosis-a typical course of antibiotics is 2-4 weeks.
Stage : Changing Skin
In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.
Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.
What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.
In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.
In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form
The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.
When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.
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