Conflict Of Interest Declaration
The authors declare that none of their collaborations influenced their work on this Consensus. Collaborative Research: Antech Laboratories , Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. , IDEXX Laboratories , Zoetis Other: AKCCHF/SCWTCA/SCWTAC GraysonJockey Club , Kindy French Foundation , Maddie’s Fund , NIH , Shipley Foundation Consultant or Sponsored CE events: Aratana , Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. , Heska , IDEXX Labs , Merck , Merial , and Zoetis
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.
What Is Borreliosis Or Lyme Disease
You should know that borreliosis, also popularly known as Lyme disease, is an infectious disease carried by ticks. In the case of the cat, we speak more specifically of feline borreliosis.
It is a disease that affects many domestic and wild animals but also humans, the effect is more or less serious depending on the infected species.
First observed in the United States in the 1970s, Lyme disease has spread to Europe. It has been established that its transmission is due to a tick bite.
We generally observe a peak of feline borreliosis during periods when ticks are more present, that is, during the months of March to April, then September and November.
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Topic 2b: European Considerations Bernese Mountain Dogs In Europe
In Europe, numerous serosurveys in dogs from different countries show a wide range of differences in seroprevalence. This is not surprising, considering the unequal distribution of ticks carrying Bbsl. Little information is available regarding clinical disease in dogs caused by these organisms in Europe. Most studies show no association of seropositivity with clinical signs., , , , One clinical study described 98 dogs with clinical signs possibly attributable to LB . Of these, 21 dogs were Bbslseropositive . In 13 of the 21 dogs, no other cause of illness was found after extensive diagnostic evaluation, indicating a relationship between Bbslseropositivity and disease. However in none of the 13 dogs could spirochetal DNA or viable spirochetes be detected.
Statement: It is not proven that European LB causes clinical signs in dogs .
Statement: Although not associated with illness, BMDs in central Europe are more often Bbslseropositive than other breeds .
Clinical Findings Of Lyme Borreliosis In Animals
Numerous clinical syndromes have been attributed to Lyme borreliosis in domestic animals, including limb and joint disease, as well as renal, neurologic, and cardiac abnormalities. However, the clinical syndromes seen in different animal species vary considerably. Certain clinical signs of Lyme borreliosis are well documented in horses and dogs.
Although cats can become infected with B burgdorferi and mount an antibody response, it is unknown whether they develop subsequent clinical disease.
In dogs, the most common clinical signs are intermittent, shifting lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy, and lymphadenopathy with or without swollen, painful joints.
Additionally, a renal syndrome has been attributed to B burgdorferi infection in dogs, though a causal relationship has yet to be established. This renal syndrome is characterized by uremia, hyperphosphatemia Hyperphosphatemiain Animals Physiologically elevated serum and plasma phosphorus concentrations are seen in young and growing animals due to enhanced intestinal phosphorus uptake and decreased renal phosphorus excretion… read more , and severe protein-losing nephropathy, often accompanied by peripheral edema. It is thought to be immune-mediated, and dogs typically present with either acute or chronic kidney failure, with or without additional cardiac or neurologic signs .
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Cautions When Using Antibiotics
It is most important that you give your cat antibiotics strictly according to your vet’s instructions. You must give the antibiotics for the full course prescribed by your vet. Even if your cat’s symptoms seem to disappear very quickly, you must still continue to give the medicine for the full period your vet prescribed in the treatment course. Contact your vet for further instructions if you miss a dosage. If you stop treating your cat with antibiotics too soon or if you miss a dose the infection could return and when it does it may be resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Be alert to any signs of allergic reaction to an antibiotic from your cat. Allergic reactions to antibiotics can be very severe. Tell your vet if your cat has had such a reaction to any anti biotic in the past. Talk to your vet before giving antibiotics to a pregnant or nursing cat.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Cats
A Lyme disease diagnosis is based on history, signs of the disease, laboratory tests, and the elimination of other possible diseases/disorders.
Your vet will take a complete medical history and ask about your cats outdoor activity , as well as when you first noticed symptoms. A complete physical examination will be carried out along with other testing, including a blood analysis to determine whether your cat has contracted the disease.
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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.”
Lyme Disease In Cats: Treatment
Typical Lyme disease in cats treatment includes antibiotics such as Doxycyline. If your cat is very young or even pregnant or nursing, then the vet might prescribe amoxicillin. Both classes of antibiotics are relatively inexpensive and generally well tolerated by animals. You will notice improvement in your cats arthritis symptoms within a day or two of starting the medicines. Despite this, you must continue the treatment as failure to do so might bring back the infection.
The problem with Lyme disease in cats treatment is that, despite these antibiotics, the disease often comes back. Many pet owners, for example, start noticing lethargy, stiffness in back and joints, and other classic Feline Lyme disease symptoms within a year of the diagnosis of the infection.
Thus: there are many questions about Lyme disease in dogs and cats treatment. Many studies have shown that dogs, despite being treated with antibiotics, continue showing the signs of Lyme disease for years. There is also a debate surrounding the use of IV antibiotics for treating Lyme. Not only are these very expensive, they may also be unsuitable to smaller dog and cat breeds.
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Topic 1a: Update On Borrelia Spp And Associated Ticks
There are at least 52 Borrelia species, including 21 in the LB group , 29 in the relapsing fever group , and 2 undetermined members. In dogs residing in North America, LB has only been associated with B. burgdorferi sensu stricto , of which at least 30 subtypes or strains exist, based on outer surface protein C genotyping. The strains appear hostspecific different strains are more common in people as compared with dogs., In Europe, coinfections of Bb with other Bbsl strains may predispose dogs to illness. Other Bbsl species causing human LB are not known to cause illness in dogs. The main tick vector for Bb is the 3host tick Ixodes scapularis in Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern states, and adjacent areas of Canada, I. pacificus in the Pacific states and Canada and, I. ricinus in Europe. Ixodes scapularis also may transmit B. mayonii in the upper Midwest and adjacent Canada causing LB signs and B. miyamotoi, in the Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern US and adjacent areas of Canada is a cause of tickborne relapsing fever in humans but is not yet known in dogs. Similarly, B. lonestari, transmitted by Amblyomma and other ticks, once thought to cause southern tickassociated rash infection in humans, has not been associated with illness in dogs. Relapsing fever Borrelia species have been described in sick dogs , and are transmitted by Ornithodorus soft argasid ticks, which only feed for 1590 minutes.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. There are a few blood tests that may be used for confirmation. The first is an antibody test, that your veterinarian can perform in the clinic setting using a special test kit. This test detects the presence of antibodies created by exposure to the organism. A test can be falsely negative if the dog is infected, but has not yet formed antibodies, or if it never forms enough antibodies to cause a positive reaction. It is recommended to test no earlier than 4 weeks after a tick bite. Some dogs that have been infected for long periods of time may no longer have enough antibodies present to be detected by the test. Therefore, a positive test is meaningful, but a negative is not. A follow up test called a QC6 test can be done to assess the numerical antibody level as confirmation.
Other tests including PCR , ELISA , joint fluid analysis, and culture can also be done with varying degrees of sensitivity, but are done less commonly. General blood and urine tests are also often done to assess kidney function and look for loss of protein in the urine. See handout Testing for Lyme Disease in Dogs for further information.
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Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease In Cats
According to Merck Veterinary Manual, cats often won’t show any physical signs of the illness, even if they’re infected with it. For cats that do experience physical signs, the most common include:
- Unwillingness to jump to heights or perches they normally favor
- Panting or difficulty breathing
Should you notice any of these signs during tick season, you should seek veterinary attention. If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with Lyme disease, treatment will involve an oral antibiotic to clear the bacterium from your cat’s system. Because Lyme disease can also affect the kidneys, joints, nervous system and heart, your vet will also closely evaluate these organ systems and ensure no targeted treatment is needed.
Testing For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarian’s clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately. If treatment has been successful, reductions in the QC6 at six months should be lower than the starting point.
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Lyme Disease & Your Pet: How To Prevent & Treat It
Hooray! The sunny weather has found us again, and its time to get active. The only downside is that warmer temps cause fleas and ticks to also become active and oh boy are they active this year. Wisconsin was recently listed as the 4th worst state for Lyme Disease in the country!
Because of this, effective flea and tick control for your pets is vitally important this year. And luckily, we have several methods of prevention and treatment to keep your dog or cat healthy throughout the season.
How To Diagnose Lyme Disease In Cats
Lyme disease can be diagnosed through a variety of lab tests, including blood analyses. Your vet will also carry out a physical examination to check for any Lyme disease symptoms. Additionally, you will be asked about your cats recent activities, including their outdoor activities and how often they go outside. All these help vets determine if the cat has Lyme disease.
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What Is Lyme Disease In Cats
Lyme disease in cats is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted through tick bites. There are at least 4 types of ticks that have been proven to transmit Lyme disease, the most common being the deer or black-legged tick. Lyme disease can affect the kidneys, joints, nervous system, and heart.
Topic 1b: Geographic Distribution And Epidemiology Of Bb Infection
Prevalence estimates of LB in dogs are hindered by a lack of demonstrative clinical signs and no national surveillance system for companion animal diseases. However, screening tests for Bb antibodies are widely used, and estimated canine Bb seroprevalence data at the US state and county and Canadian province and territory levels are available based on input from commercial diagnostic laboratories through the Companion Animal Parasite Council . Lyme disease in humans has been a notifiable disease in the US for many years although not every case is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and surveillance summaries lag behind disease reporting. Underreporting of cases in humans is more likely in highly endemic areas, whereas misclassification is more likely in nonendemic areas. The same may be true for dogs. Travel history of sick or seropositive dogs is an important historical question because cases in nonendemic areas may occur after travel to or importation from endemic disease areas.
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How Lyme Disease In Cats Is Diagnosed
While you can watch for signs and symptoms, the only way to know if your cats may has this condition is through laboratory tests.
The CatWatch Newsletter reports that Lyme disease can be diagnosed by examining blood samples. You will have to get a SNAP-4DxPlus test for your cat. If your feline has Lyme disease, laboratory tests will show the presence of a certain antibody.
When Is Tick Season
Tick season is generally considered to last from April to September, although ticks can be active any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing. In most parts of the U.S., lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged tick, otherwise known as the deer tick. On the West Coast, the infection is carried by a similar parasite, the Western black-legged tick.
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Lyme Borreliosis In Cats
Even though it is uncommon in cats, lyme disease is known to be one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Caused by a bacteria spirochete species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group, its dominant clinical feature in cats is lameness due to inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Some cats develop kidney conditions, and rarely heart or nervous system diseases.
Detection And Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
If you suspect your cat has lyme disease, you should look for tickson the skin and see if there are any symptoms take the cat to the vet.A blood test will show if the infection is present. The red cell countwill be low.
The vet will also inspect if there are any ticks on the surface of the cats skin. These need to be removed.
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Lyme Disease In Cats: Causes Symptoms And Treatments
Lyme disease in cats is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted through tick bites. The tick that transmits the bacteria is called deer tick or tiny-legged tick.
The scientific name of the species on the west coast of the United States is Ixodes pacificus and Ixodes scapularis in other regions. Its vital to keep in mind that the tick does not cause Lyme disease but rather is the carrier of the bacteria that causes it.
According to a study done by Merck Animal Health, almost three-quarters of pet parents do not research flea and tick prevention yet ticks carry serious life-threatening diseases, including Lyme disease, and are active in almost all climates and environments throughout the U.S.
According to Dr. Dottie Normile, Associate Director, Scientific Marketing Affairs at Merck Animal Health, pet parents should have information on the risks ticks pose to their feline friends and how they can help prevent it.
If youve cats as pets, understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments for the disease is important. Spotting the symptoms early on can be the difference between life and death for your feline friend. So, can cats get Lyme disease, and if yes, what are the symptoms to look out for?