Can Lyme Disease In Dogs Be Cured
And now for your sigh of relief: Yes, Lyme disease in dogs can be cured if the treatment is applied in time. Thats why its super important to take your dog for a checkup if you suspect they were bitten by a tick, even if they dont show any active symptoms.
Lyme disease in dogs is serious, but it is well within your power as a pet parent to help your dog steer clear of this condition. Some pet insurance providers, like Pumpkin, provide optional preventive care benefits that can help cover the costs of the Lyme disease vaccine, as well as a yearly vector-borne disease test. With proper preventive care, as well as treatment if your dog becomes infected, those ticks dont have to be so terrifying! Dr Wooten assures us. And you and your pooch can enjoy plenty of happy, healthy days ahead.
Can Dogs Spread Lyme Disease To People
Dogs can be a good indicator of humans risk for exposure to infected ticks, since they frequent the same outdoor areas as their owners. A study published in May 2017 in the journal PLoS One suggests that testing canines for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can help predict areas where human Lyme disease risk may emerge.
A study published in September 2011 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found that areas with canine Lyme disease rates above 5 percent also had a higher-than-average rate of the disease in humans.
While the same ticks may affect humans and animals, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs can directly spread Lyme disease to humans. The risk to humans is that pets can carry infected ticks into the home.
On the other hand, cats may directly infect humans with the tick-borne bartonella bacteria through scratching or biting. Cats harboring fleas infected with bartonella bacteria can cause cat scratch disease , especially in children under 15 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Summary Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is transmitted via tick bites, and can cause lameness, swollen joints and even kidney failure. While it can be treated if the case is not too severe, prevention is best. The best way to prevent an infection is to reduce your dogs exposure to ticks and stay up-to-date on monthly preventatives and Lyme vaccinations.
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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.
Is Lyme Disease Contagious
Lyme disease is only contagious through ticks, not between other species. A dog with Lyme disease wont transmit it to a human or to other dogs, and vice versa. However, a tick can transmit Lyme disease several times in succession, so if a Lyme-carrying tick moves from your dog to you, it can transmit the disease to both of you.
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Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Dogs
You will need to provide a thorough history of your dog’s health to give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are being affected.
Clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease is usually confirmed with a positive blood test for Lyme along with the clinical signs associated with Lyme disease.
Its important to note that tests can take 4-6 weeks to show up as positive after exposure, which is why veterinarians will use a combination of diagnostics to diagnose your dog:
Blood chemistry tests
X-rays and tests specific to diagnosing Lyme disease
Fluid from the affected joints may also be drawn for analysis
Can Lyme Disease Be Transmitted From Pet To Pet
Lyme disease is seen in dogs, cats, and humans but thankfully, no, Lyme disease is not contagious, as it can only be transmitted via a tick bite. However, if one of your dogs or cats develops it, youll want to get all of your pets checked for the illness, as they may all be at risk of exposure to the ticks that infected your sick fur baby. You may even want to get yourself checked as well, as people are usually in the same places as their pets.
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Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
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.
What Is The Prevalence Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease occurs throughout the United States, but it’s much more common in certain parts of the country. The disease’s distribution is thought to be similar for humans and dogs.
In humans, the majority of Lyme disease cases occur in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country, with 14 states accounting for more than 96 percent of the Lyme disease cases reported to the CDC.
The exact prevalence of Lyme disease in dogs is difficult to determine.
In endemic areas, some 70 to 90 percent of dogs test positive for Borrelia burgdorferi infection, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine .
Yet 95 percent of dogs infected with the bacteria remain asymptomatic and don’t develop Lyme disease.
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Are There Different Types Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can take on four distinct forms, each with different symptoms: acute Lyme, subacute Lyme, chronic Lyme, and Lyme nephritis. Any of the first three types may occur initially from there, the disease may progress to another form or remain within the same form. Lyme nephritis is a late-stage form of Lyme disease that occurs after the disease has already caused damage.
Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
If your dog has a positive Lyme test but no symptoms of the disease or protein in the urine, ask your veterinarian why he or she is recommending treatment. Experts currently recommend against antibiotic therapy under these circumstances because the dogs immune system is holding the bacteria in check and antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection.
Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease do not develop prolonged, protective immunity and can be reinfected at a later date. Talk to your veterinarian about how best to prevent future infections. Options include measures to prevent the ticks that carry Lyme disease from biting your dog and Lyme vaccination.
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Clinical & Laboratory Assessment
Simply identifying antibodies to B burgdorferi in a dog does not constitute a clinical diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis. Before establishing a diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis, the clinician must:
- Consider physical and laboratory findings
- Determine whether the dog resides in, or has traveled to, a region inhabited by the Ixodes tick.
Laboratory Assessment. The laboratory assessment of any patient found to have serum antibodies against B burgdorferi should include:
- Urine protein:creatinine ratio , if proteinuria is deemed significant.
With uncomplicated Lyme borreliosis, hematologic and biochemical abnormalities are unlikely. However, seropositive dogs are at risk for co-infection with other vector-borne pathogens and may have underlying laboratory abnormalities .
Significant laboratory abnormalities, revealing serious underlying renal disease , can exist in the absence of expected physical abnormalities .
Chronic Effects Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
If your dog’s case of Lyme disease isn’t promptly identified and treated, the condition can become life-threatening.
Lyme disease, if left to run its course or treated too late, Lyme disease can cause kidney failure, serious heart problems, neurological issues and long-term joint pain and arthritis in your pup.
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So How Do You Prevent Lyme Disease In Your Dog
If there is one thing you should take away today its this
The more toxic your dog is, the more likely he is to suffer an exaggerated response to Lyme disease.
Research shows it 95% of dog bitten by a tick, are likely to have either no symptoms or mild flu-like symptoms.
For the 5% of dogs who get really sick, how can you blame the tick when the other 95% do fine?
The problem was already there before the tick came along the bacteria in the tick was just the final small blow to an already weakened immune system.
While conventional veterinarians would have you protect your dog with sprays and vaccines holistic vets know the secret is a healthy immune system.
They know that bacteria and parasites only prey on weak animals. And that a healthy immune system is what separates the 5% of dogs with Lyme disease from the healthy 95%.
Here are some tips to help bolster your dogs immune system:
- Feed a fresh, whole food species-appropriate diet.
- Avoid any and all unnecessary vaccines .
- Work with a holistic vet to replace any conventional drugs, vaccines and medications. Instead choose holistic, natural options that wont harm the immune system.
Its time to stop fearing Lyme disease and see it for what it is a signal that there was already something wrong with your dog.
So, take that worry and refocus it on improving your dogs immune health instead.
Do that and research shows youll likely never face the challenge of Lyme disease in your dog.
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.
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How Is Lyme Nephritis Treated
Lyme nephritis, the most serious form of Lyme disease, is considered a fatal condition. Treatment is usually palliative in nature, intended to alleviate symptoms and provide comfort rather than provide a cure. Dogs with Lyme nephritis will usually receive IV fluids and should be fed a special diet to reduce strain on the kidneys and digestive system.
History Of Dogs Living Through Lyme Disease
In the past, it may have been difficult for dogs to surviveLyme disease due to the inability to diagnose the disease. Now, there arenumerous tests for vets to use to determine whether or not your pooch has Lymedisease. Fortunately, this means that fewer dogs die from Lyme disease now.
To prevent Lyme disease, you can have your dog vaccinatedand use flea and tick preventatives. If your dog does contract Lyme disease,however, they are likely to exhibit the symptoms listed above. These symptomsare caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium in the bite of an infectedtick.
Since ticks can live in many outdoor settings, it isimportant to be diligent about prevention and removal of any ticks. It takes morethan two days for ticks to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to theirhosts, so if you think your pet may have been exposed to ticks, you should checkthem out and remove any ticks that you do find.
Luckily for dogs, modern medicine has made diagnosing andtreating Lyme disease much easier than it was just a couple decades ago. Withdifferent treatments available, more dogs make a full recovery after contractingthe disease, but it can also cause further health complications.
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How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 11,813 times.
In areas where Lyme disease is common, like the northeastern U.S., more than half of all dogs may carry the bacteria that can cause the disease. However, less than 10% of these canine carriers will ever show symptoms and require treatment. Blood tests can confirm B. burgdorferi bacteria, but its typically the appearance of symptoms like fever, stiffness, joint swelling, and loss of appetite that triggers veterinary treatment. Fortunately, when treated early, canine Lyme disease typically responds quickly to antibiotics.
Most Dogs Never Get Sick
A study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. In the experiment, researchers infected beagles with Lyme disease. Yet none of the adult dogs showed any symptoms of the disease.
They used beagle puppies. This is because puppies would have weaker immune systems than adult dogs. They showed about four days of transient symptoms such as fever and lameness in the same study.
After four days of on-and-off symptoms, the pups became asymptomatic. This means their bodies cleared the infection without any treatment.
Meryl P Littman was the lead reaearcher. She explains exposure to Lyme disease is common, but the disease isnt.
95% of exposed dogs dont get sick, but they become Lyme antibody-positive on tests, which may scare people into thinking they need to be treated, she says. In some areas in New England, 70 90% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive. At PennVet, we found about 40% of healthy dogs are Lyme-positive in our area.
So, it seems that Lyme disease isnt all that common. Dogs arent that likely to get it, even when infected.
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Causes Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Dogs get Lyme disease from the bite of an infected Ixodes tick, just like people do. However, transmission of the disease is not instantaneous when the tick bites. It takes 24-48 hours for the tick to transmit the disease to your dog.
Once the Borrelia bacteria enters a dogs body, it changes the molecules on its surface in order to hide from the immune system. This is why many dogs do not get immediately sick, but may develop symptoms long after the tick bite.
Ticks can transmit disease even at an early life stage. Young ticks, known as nymphs , look like tiny black dots. Their legs are so small that you may not see them at first. Adult ticks have a black front half of the body and a wider brown back. You may not be able to see the ticks head if it has already latched onto your dog.
There is some suggestion that Retriever-type dogs may be slightly more susceptible to a severe form of Lyme disease. Studies from Europe found that Bernese Mountain Dogs may also be at increased risk for this severe form.
How Long After A Tick Bite Will Dogs Get Sick
If an infected tick has been on your dogs body for 24-48 hours, they have the ability to spread Lyme disease to your pup.
Once the bacteria makes its way into your dogs bloodstream, the clinical signs typically develop anywhere from 2-5 months after infection.
Some dogs have been known to develop symptoms years after their tick bite, proving just how varied this disease can be.
Not only can it take months for symptoms of Lyme disease to develop in dogs, but the clinical signs can come and go if the disease is left untreated.
For example, a dogs limp may disappear suddenly, only to return months later with a vengeance.
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How To Protect Your Property And Your Pets
On this last topic, Bloom commented that the majority of flea and tick control medicines on the market work fairly well. He, however, cautioned against using more than one of them in tandem.
“In my opinion, it would be overly cautious to use more than one,” he says. “In other words, I wouldn’t use both a collar and a topical prevention, or an oral prevention and a topical. I think that’s kind of too much poison for the dog.”
You can, however, combine one of the topical or oral preventatives with the Lyme vaccine. So there is a way you can further protect your pet from contracting the disease if you live in an area where deer are prevalent.
If you’re looking for an additional way to protect your yard, Bloom recommends having the perimeter sprayed by a pest control company.
Goldstein also recommended treating the perimeter of your property, but his recommendation came in the form of a physical barrier, rather than one of pesticides.
“If you’re up against woods in your yard, a barrier of wood chips of pebbles will prevent at least the ticks from going across,” explains Goldstein. “They can be carried across it by an animal, but at least they won’t cross a barrier like that.”
Discussing Symptoms And Treatments With Your Vet
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