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How To Tell If My Dog Has Lyme Disease

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Lyme Disease: A Pet Owners Guide

How to Tell if Your Dog or Pet Has Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an illness that affects both animals and humans what is known as a zoonotic disease and is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Transmitted through tick bites, the disease can be difficult to detect and can cause serious and recurring health problems. Therefore, it is best to prevent infection by taking appropriate measures to prevent tick bites and, for dogs, possibly vaccinating against the disease.

The bacterium that causes Lyme disease a worm-like, spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi is carried and transmitted primarily by the tiny black-legged tick known as the deer tick. Deer ticks are found in forests or grassy, wooded, marshy areas near rivers, lakes or oceans. People or animals may be bitten by deer ticks during outdoor activities such as hiking or camping, or even while spending time in their back yards.

Named after numerous cases were identified in Lyme, Conn., in 1975, the disease has since been reported in humans and animals across the United States and around the world. Within the U.S., it appears primarily in specific areas including the southern New England states eastern Mid-Atlantic states the upper Midwest, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota and on the West Coast, particularly northern California. The CDC maintains a map detailing confirmed cases of Lyme disease throughout the years.

If My Animal Is Positive On The Assay Should He/she Be Treated For Lyme Disease

If your animal is displaying clinical signs of Lyme disease and is positive on the Lyme Multiplex assay, it is advisable to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. If your animal appears healthy, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and develop a monitoring plan with your veterinarian.

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:

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.

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How Can My Vet Diagnose Lyme Disease

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect that your pet may have contracted Lyme disease.

At this appointment, your vet will ask several questions in order to gain a detailed understanding of your companions medical history and then conduct a variety of tests ranging from a Heartworm/Tick test , bloodwork, urinalysis and possibly x-rays.

If My Dog Tests Positive Does He Need To Be Treated

Lyme Heartworm State College Veterinary Hospital State

The decision to treat Lyme disease is somewhat controversial since many infected dogs show no signs of illness. Factors that would support treatment include:

a moderate to high value of QC6 signs of illness compatible with Lyme disease at the time of testing a history of illness compatible with Lyme disease within the past year the presence of abnormal levels of protein in the urine.

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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.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Canine 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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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:

For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted

Lyme disease in the dog. Dr. Dan explains Lyme disease

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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Other Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

Dogs are more resilient against Lyme disease than other animals. According to an experimental study, only a small percent of pet dogs that test positive for this disease develop symptoms.

Dog Lyme disease can also result in intermittent arthritis, similar to humans, and rarely results in a kidney infection. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in Joints and leg
  • Signs of rash in areas such as the leg or the limb
  • Signs of fever and illness

Can My Dog Get Lyme Disease

This common tick-borne illness can also affect your pup. Know the signs and keep your best friend happy and healthy.

If you spend any time outdoors, make sure to protect yourselves and your pup from Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is probably the most well-known tick-borne illness, for good reason: Carried by the black-legged tick , more than 200,000 cases of the disease are reported each year across the United States. Outdoorsy types are always on high alert to protect themselves from Lyme Disease but what about their pets? As it turns out, dogs can also contract Lyme Disease and it can be a serious medical concern when they do.

Get informed so you can care for your pet best. Lets take a look at what Lyme Disease is, its symptoms in dogs, and how you can protect them in the future.

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What Can I Do To Protect My Pet Against Lyme Disease

You can help protect your pet from becoming infected with Lyme disease by:

  • using a tick preventive.
  • avoiding wooded or grassy areas and stick to trails.
  • performing daily tick checks and removing any ticks that you may find
  • discussing the Lyme vaccine with your veterinarian for dogs living in high-risk areas.
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    Should I Have My Dog Tested

    Tick Borne Illness Symptoms In Dogs

    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 arent 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 youre 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.

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    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.

    Then they used Beagle puppies. This is because puppies would have weaker immune systems than adult dogs. The puppies showed about four days of transient symptoms such as fever and lameness in the same study. After those 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. In fact, the experts at the ACVIM {American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) dont recommend testing for lyme disease in dogs, or giving the Lyme vaccine .

    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.

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    How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease

    Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium that looks like a worm with a spiral shape, is what causes Lyme disease. Most commonly, it is transmitted by the small black-legged tick called the deer tick. These ticks can usually be found in the forests or along woody, grassy, and marshy places in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

    So how do dogs get in contact with these deer ticks? Oftentimes, they may get bitten during outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, strolling around nature parks, or even while playing in the backyard.

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    Treating Asymptomatic Lyme Disease In Dogs

    My Puppy Got Lyme Disease & I Didn’t Treat It…

    If your dog has tested positive for Lyme disease and isnt showing any symptoms, you may be wondering why you need to treat them for the disease. After all, if your dog cant give you Lyme disease and they arent showing any signs of having it, why treat them?

    The answer is in how Lyme disease attacks the body. Even if the dog isnt currently showing symptoms of Lyme disease, that doesnt mean they wont eventually start developing symptoms. And if Lyme disease is allowed to ravage the body unchecked, the symptoms that eventually show up can be worse than any mild obvious symptoms, such as kidney damage.

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    Can Dogs Survive Lyme Disease

    Can my dog recover from Lyme disease? If you are able to detect the disease early, symptoms should disappear within the first 3 days of your pups treatment. However, while treatment is usually very effective at eliminating signs of Lyme disease, dogs with Lyme disease can remain positive for the rest of their lives.

    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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    How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog

    Check your pet immediately after it has been in a tick-infected area. The deer tick is a small tick and only about pinhead size in juvenile stage, but is a little more obvious in the adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. See your veterinarian if you are unsure or unable to remove the tick from your dog.

    Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.You may need another person to help restrain your dog. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin.

    Note: The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin.

    Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Dogs

    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

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    Dog And Lyme Disease: The Good The Bad And The Scary

    Lyme disease, just the name alone is enough to give veterinarians a headache. It is a complicated combination of exposure, infection, clinical signs, prevention and treatment. All of this is wrapped up in multiple controversies: is my animal at risk? Should we vaccinate? Should we test on a regular basis? What should be done once an animal tests positive? This article is going to try and sort out these questions and give some advice. But always remember whether it is Lyme or any other disease process the best place to discuss information, testing and treatment options is going to be with your veterinarian.

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    What Does The Lyme Multiplex Assay Measure

    The Lyme Multiplex assay quantifies antibodies directed against specific proteins on the surface of B. burgdorferi at three different stages of the bacterial life cycle. This antibody profile can indicate whether an animal has been recently infected or is chronically infected with B. burgdorferi. It can also be used to monitor protective antibodies after vaccination.

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