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How Do You Treat A Dog With Lyme Disease


Lyme Disease From Nymphs

Treating a Dog with Lyme Disease

Come fall, larvae grow to poppy seed sized nymphs.

Nymphs remain inactive throughout the winter and early spring. In late spring, the nymph will begin looking for a host.

Once a nymph finds a host, it will latch on for four or five days. It will engorge with blood and swell to several times its original size.

If infected in the larval stage, the nymph may give Lyme disease to its host.

If the nymph was not infected as a larva but the host is, the nymph will become a carrier.

Up to 25% of nymphs carry the Lyme disease spirochete in endemic areas of the northeast and upper midwest.

Like tick larvae, nymphs prefer small mammals and birds but

your pet can be a suitable substitute.

They are also the most dangerous.

To give Lyme disease to your dog, ticks must feed for 24 to 36 hours.

Because nymphs are so small, they often go unnoticed until theyre engorged. This makes the nymph most likely to spread Lyme disease.

In fact, all human cases of Lyme disease come from infected nymphs.

Once engorged, the nymph will drop off its host and molt into an adult in the comfort of fallen leaves.

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.

Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

Four weeks of Doxycycline is the most common course used to treat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases . If dogs have been showing clinical signs, they often perk up and improve in a matter of days, but its important to give the full course of treatment. If dogs arent treated, or treatment has been delayed due to unknown diagnosis or other complications, they may continue to have issues for life

If specific organs are affected, more involved testing may be performed, and other treatments prescribed by your vet.

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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.

Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog

3 Natural Lyme Treatments for Dogs

Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.

If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.

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Alternative Lyme Disease Therapies For Dogs

With an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 new cases of human Lyme disease diagnosed annually, its not surprising that holistic health practitioners are experimenting with therapies that support or replace conventional treatment, especially because conventional treatment has adverse side effects and is not always effective. Numerous herbal, nutritional, and even aroma-based therapies have helped people with Lyme disease. In fact, because the treatments worked so well, they have been given to Lyme-infected dogs with excellent results.

The following have not been tested in scientifically controlled studies, and they havent been tried by the veterinarians I interviewed. However, the information offered by the practitioners interviewed below is compelling. If you are interested in using one of the products described below, ask your holistic veterinarian for help.

D-Lenolate olive leaf extract

Some herbal products are effective alternatives to antibiotics and kill pathogens so effectively that they, too, cause a die-off reaction. Les Nachman, Director of Herbal Technology at East Park Research, which manufactures d-Lenolate olive leaf extract, reports that thousands of human patients have successfully treated their Lyme disease with this product alone.


Teasel root tinture

Propolis, Lomatium, and Waltheria Formulas

Essential oils


Green Terrestrials Auntie Lyme tea

Immune-stimulating herbs

What Is The Best Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs

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.

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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

Average Cost Of Treatment

Tips for preventing lyme disease in dogs

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. Pet lovers frequently visit these sites and you can capitalize on their big hearts by pulling at those heart strings to help your fury friend. There are a few sites that are solely dedicated to pet crowdfunding. Consider starting your campaign on a site like CoFund My Pet that is, as it may increase the looks you receive from other pet lovers.

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The Signs Your Dog Has Lyme Disease Are More Straightforward Than The Symptoms In Humans Know The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs And How To Treat This Tick

When I opened her crate that morning, Samantha didnt move. Instead of racing around with a toy in her mouth, our bouncy one-year-old Labrador Retriever stared at us with wide brown eyes, looking frightened. She didnt object when my husband lifted her, but when he set her down, she stood as though frozen. He carried her outside and held her while she urinated. When he let go, she couldnt walk.

A few hours later, our vet announced that every joint in her body was inflamed and she had a fever. No wonder our puppy couldnt move. She hurt all over. Samantha had Lyme disease.

Lyme disease affects thousands of Americans and their dogs and horses each year. Named for Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it was discovered formally identified in the 1970s, Lyme is a regional disease, with 90 percent of its cases in New England and the Middle Atlantic states. The rest come from the upper Mississippi and parts of California and Oregon. A few dogs and people with Lyme disease live elsewhere, but they are believed to have been infected during travel or, in some cases, by ticks from migrating birds.

Science Behind Dogs Getting Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is more common in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwestern areas of the United States. Deer ticks are known to transmit the disease. Caused by bacteria, Lyme disease causes an infection which leads to fever, joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, and more.

Since the tick needs to stay attached to the host for at least 50 hours to transmit the disease, it is important to regularly check your pet for ticks if they have been exposed. You should also know how to properly remove a tick from your pets body. Once your pet has been exposed to Lyme disease, you should start to see the symptoms come and go for days at a time.

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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.

What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

Lyme Heartworm State College Veterinary Hospital State

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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Prevent Your Dog From Getting Tick

No matter where you live, ticks can be hazardous to your dogs health. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks transmit babesia, ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other infections. Dogs that live where ticks are common should be inspected daily, even if they dont spend much time outside. Samanthas first bite occurred not in our tick-infested woods or fields of tall grass, but during her convalescence after being spayed at seven months, when her only outdoor activities were sedate walks along paved sidewalks. The timing of the bite was unfortunate, for a dog recovering from surgery is far more vulnerable than usual to infections of all kinds.

Prompt discovery and removal of ticks is key to preventing transmission of Lyme, says the Centers for Disease Control. Transmission of B. burgdorferi from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment. Daily checks for ticks and their prompt removal will help prevent infection. However, this takes some dedication, as the ticks that transmit Lyme are incredibly tiny.

For a full understanding of the range of chemical and non-toxic tick repellents for dogs, read, Protecting Your Dog from Tick Bites and Lyme Disease.

Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

Because Lyme disease may not cause any obvious clinical signs but can still be fatal, its important to test your dog every year for Lyme disease if you live in an endemic area, and 4-6 weeks after a known tick bite . Most testing is done based on clinical signs or history.

In the clinic, your vet will test for the presence of antibodies to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This is just a quick positive-or-negative snap test. If the result is positive, this means antibodies are present, and your vet may send a more specific test to the lab to determine the approximate number of antibodies. A high number indicates an active infection is likely, whereas a low number may indicate that your dog was previously exposed . Some dogs may retain antibodies to tick-borne bacteria for several years after being exposed.

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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.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Canine Lyme Disease

How to protect dogs from Lyme disease?
  • Prevent ticks from transmitting disease with one of our veterinary-approved flea and tick medications.
  • Get your dog vaccinated.
  • Inspect your dog for ticks after walks through wooded trails. Check your dog under their collar, under their tail, between their toes, under their legs and elbows.
  • Remove ticks immediately. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will be infected. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers and learn the proper method of tick removal.
  • At your next vet visit, ask our veterinarian to conduct a tick check during the exam. Well be able to find any you may have missed.
  • Keep your grass mowed and refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas.

Meet the Team

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Prevalence Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

In the United States, ~30,000 to 40,000 cases of human Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year,3 and reported cases are estimated to represent only 10% of the actual number.4 Most human Lyme disease cases are clustered in the New England, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest regions, where during 1993 to 2012, the number of high-risk counties increased by more than 300%.5 Because of their close association, humans and dogs share many of the same risk factors for encountering B. burgdorferiinfected ticks thus, dogs serve as excellent sentinels for human Lyme disease risk.6 This association is highlighted by comparing maps of Lyme disease cases for humans 3 with maps of B. burgdorferi seroprevalence among dogs .7

Figure 3. Reported cases of Lyme disease, United States, 2018.3

Figure 4. Seroprevalence of Borellia burgdorferi among dogs, United States, 2018. Of serologic diagnostic tests submitted in 2018, 5.64% were positive for B. burgdorferi.7 Photo Courtesy Companion Animal Parasite Council.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from dog to dog, and can also vary in severity from mild to chronic and debilitating. Here are a few of the symptoms of Lyme disease you might see if your dog tests positive:

Many dogs may not ever get tested for Lyme disease until they are showing symptoms. By this point, the infection may cause lasting organ damage or recurrent joint problems.

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What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium.

“Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick.”

Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a tick. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints or kidneys. The most common type of tick to carry Lyme disease is the deer tick . Deer ticks are distributed through the Midwest and eastern United States, as well as throughout Canada with the highest proportion in Ontario.

Is My Dog At Risk Of Canine Lyme Disease

How to Treat a Lyme Disease Tick Bite on Your Dog

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:
  • Have you seen or heard of ticks on people or pets in your area?
  • Is your dog likely to go into areas where ticks are found?
  • Do you live in an area with ticks and/or where there are cases of Lyme disease in animals or humans?
  • Are you likely to travel with your dog to areas where Lyme disease is present?
  • Have you forgotten to give monthly tick medication on time?
  • 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.

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    Lyme Disease In Pets Symptoms And Treatment

    Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Joint swelling

    Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks, and may migrate from one extremity to another.

    Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems and dermatitis.

    Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.

    Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, its important to follow your veterinarians advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for the disease.