Reducing Future Lyme Disease Risks
Preventing Canine Lyme Disease
- Rule #1 – Use an effective tick preventative, regularly
- Rule #2 – If you see a tick on your dog, remove it right away
Luckily preventing Lyme disease is fairly simple because no ticks=no Lyme!
Using an effective tick preventative on a regular basis will protect your dog by ensuring that any ticks which climb onto him will die within the 24 hour ‘window’ before infection sets in.
Over the counter products can’t be relied on and it’s important to choose a product that contains Permethrin, Fipronil or Amitraz.
Revolution is not an effective treatment against Lyme Disease in dogs as it only kills the American Dog Tick, NOT the Deer Ticks who carry the disease.
Advantage is also ineffective as protection because it only kills fleas!
It’s a good idea to use them as extra protection if ticks are really bad in your area, or if your dog spends a lot of time out hunting/walking in long grass or wooded areas. A Preventic collar can be used at the same time as the topical treatments, and is effective for up to 3 months.
If you live in an area where Lyme Disease is prevalent, you may want to consider having your pup vaccinated against it. Although not 100% effective , it’s still the best way to protect a high-risk dog.
Sticky Lint Roller Tick Removal
Lyme Disease In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment
Reviewed and updated on April 14, 2020 by Rania Gollakner, DVM
Lyme disease in dogs is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, but it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. So some dogs may have it, but never show symptoms.
Transmission of Lyme disease has been reported in dogs throughout the United States and Europe, but its most prevalent in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific coastal states.
However, the disease is spreading and becoming more common throughout the United States. Heres some info about the causes and prevention of Lyme disease, as well as the symptoms you should look for and treatment options.
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Natural Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease in dogs is the leading tick-borne disease in the United States.
And while Lyme disease may not be common and many dogs never develop any symptoms, it is something that you need to treat if your dog starts showing signs
But if your dog does get this infection, dont run to the vet for drugs without trying these natural alternatives first.
How Do I Protect My Dog From Lyme Disease
Protection from Lyme disease primarily consists of good tick control. Dog owners should be using appropriate tick preventative medication, doing frequent tick checks, as well as removing any ticks found promptly. Vaccines for Lyme diseases are available as well and can give added protection.
As a veterinarian, cat lover, and cat owner, I like many, would love to believe my cats would love my constant attention, but alas cats, like us, need their space.
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Can You Get Lyme From Your Pets
Theres no evidence of direct transmission of Lyme from pets to humans. But dogs and other domestic animals can bring Lyme-carrying ticks into your home. These ticks could attach to you and cause infection.
Its a good practice to check your pets for ticks after theyve been in tall grass, underbrush, or wooded areas where ticks are common.
Lyme Disease In Dogs Can Dogs Get It
Many of us are aware that ticks can spread illnesses through their bite.
Lyme disease is one of the many diseases that ticks can harbor, infecting both humans and dogs with a simple bite.
Lyme disease is a realistic threat in many parts of the country, making it so important for dog owners to be educated on the details of this condition.
In this article we will get into the details of Lyme disease in our canine friends, and help you better understand your dogs prognosis if they are diagnosed with this tick-borne illness.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
- Fact Checked
Your dog has just been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and you begin to panic. Although you know this condition is by no means a death sentence, you are still concerned about his health and want to make sure you do everything in your power to give him a fast recovery.
As you begin your research, you start to wonder, Is Lyme disease in dogs contagious? Its a known fact that Lyme disease can also affect humans however, that doesnt mean you will contract the same condition as well.
The best thing you can do as a dog owner is to educate yourself on everything you need to know about this particular disease. Once you can identify the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog, you will be able to start the treatment process as soon as possible, increasing their chances of a full recovery.
How Do You Keep Ticks Off Your Dog
The best way to keep ticks away from your dog is by applying a topical flea and tick medication on a regular basis. Oral tick preventatives are also available, though theyre relatively new and you may have a harder time finding a vet who will prescribe them. Due to increased resistance based on location, certain medications may be ineffective against ticks in your area, so consult your local vet before making a purchase.
Tick collars are inexpensive and can be purchased over the counter, but theyre less effective than oral and topical medications. Collars can also be easily removed and may get snagged on branches as your dog runs by, presenting both a safety and an efficacy hazard.
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The Best Way To Remove A Tick
Upon discovering a live tick on your pet, your first instinct might be to pull it off immediately. But rather than doing so with your bare hands, experts caution that patience is the safer route.
“The best way to take off every tick is with a sharpened tweezers and to kind of grab them as far down by the head as you can and pull them off,” explains Goldstein. “People ideally should wear gloves when they’re doing it, if they can, or just be careful. Theoretically, if you have a cut on your finger and you squish a tick and get the blood from the tick, you could get infected with something. So be careful not to do that.”
Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It
The biggest key here is to be verycareful and veryquick, Dr. Wooten advises. This is because your dog is most likely to contract Lyme disease from a tick thats been feeding for 12 hours. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Protect your hands from potential bacteria and bites with a tissue or disposable gloves.
- Get a great set of tweezers dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Use these to remove any moving ticks you find immediately by pulling it straight up and off of your dog.
- If the tick isnt moving and is stuck on your dogs skin, get your tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight up and off of your pet. Be careful not to twist your tweezers, as this may rip off only part of the tick and leave its mouth on your pet and leave your dog at risk of infection.
- If necessary, ask someone to help restrain your dog while you remove the tick.
- Place the tick in rubbing alcohol or crush it. If you crush the tick, be sure not to get any of it on your skin.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed In My Dog
If you suspect Lyme disease, you should definitely consult a veterinarian. He can then order a blood test. If Borrelia is found in the blood of a dog, this does not necessarily mean that the dog also suffers from Lyme disease. However, the blood count and the symptoms associated with a tick bite are always important information for the veterinarian. However, there is never 100% certainty with a Lyme disease infection! Even if the symptoms, blood count and bite match, the tick could also have carried other pathogens that trigger the symptoms.
If My Dog Tests Positive Does This Necessitate Treatment
Veterinarians are able to effectively treat most tick-borne infections however, the decision of whether to treat an asymptomatic dog remains a point of controversy. Dr. Adam Birkenheuer, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, an Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease specialist at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine recommends treatment after a positive test, followed by a complete blood cell count, serum biochemistry and urinalysis in 6 month intervals for 1 year. According to Dr. Birkenheuer “There are currently no evidence-based recommendations on whether or not to treat your pet if he or she is found to be exposed to a tick-transmitted infection like Ehrlichia or Borrelia. Some doctors may recommend treatment while others may not. The most important thing is to continue to monitor your pet for signs of illness with examinations and laboratory testing. I recommend this yearly for the rest of the pet’s life.”
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:
- 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.
Which Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
Though many different species of ticks can carry infectious agents, not all ticks will carry Lyme disease.
The most common species of tick that carries Lyme disease in the United States is the black-legged tick, or most commonly known as the deer tick.
These ticks can be found in varying sizes based on their life stage, with some being as small as a pinpoint.
Because of this, these types of ticks can be hard to spot on your pup.
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Can You Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
Because the agent responsible for Lyme disease is a bacteria, this means the condition can be treated with the use of antibiotics.
The standard course of treatment involves 30 days of antibiotic therapy, using doxycycline, amoxicillin, and azithromycin.
Many pet owners see improvements in their dogs symptoms in as little as 5 days after antibiotics are administered, with most pups making a full recovery after the 30 days.
However, some dogs will require a longer course of antibiotics, which is why it is so important to test their antibody levels again once they have completed their initial treatment.
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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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
In dogs, Lyme disease can cause lameness secondary to inflammation in the joints . Dogs may run a fever, have decreased appetite, act depressed, have enlarged lymph nodes and be sensitive to touch. In one to two percent of dogs with Lyme disease, the bacteria can also attack the kidneys and cause a condition known as glomerulonephritis, which is a type of kidney disease that can cause kidney failure. Lyme disease can also affect the eyes and cause conjunctivitis, uveitis, corneal edema, chorioretinitis and retinal detachment. 2Rare cardiac and neurological complications may also occur. When the ticks that transmit Lyme disease attach to humans, humans may develop a circular area of inflammation around the bite area called a target lesion. This skin lesion is not frequently seen in dogs.
It’s All Across The Country
Likewise, the nonchalance of the past no longer applies to Lyme’s regional characteristics either.
“It used to be kind of a Northeast, Midwest phenomenon,” explains Dr. Goldstein, “but when you look at the latest maps, it’s all over the country. There’s really almost no state without Lyme. We see quite a bit of Lyme in California, in Florida, in the states that used to be relatively low in the upper West Coast. So, yeah, it’s virtually everywhere and I believe very strongly that every dog in this country should be tested annually.”
If you’re wondering why its footprint is increasing, Dr. Goldstein says to look no further than global warming.
“That has to do with the warming climate,” he tells CBS News. “It has to do with more deer that can transmit ticks from place to place, more mice. Mice are the main reservoir for Lyme and the mice population has exploded over the last few years — again, possibly because of mild winters. Global warming is definitely manifesting itself in tick-borne disease in general and we see that in humans as well as in dogs. We see diseases that exist today in areas that we just didn’t have five and ten years ago.”
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What To Do If Your Dog Has Been Exposed To Lymes Disease
Dear Dr. Hershey,
My vet just told me that my dog, Harper, just tested positive for Lymes Disease. He seems to be normal otherwise, what does this mean for him, and is it contagious to me?
Dear Mary Beth,
This is a timely question because the ticks are out in Minnesota. Ticks live for many years, and can survive the winter in a dormant stage.
Ticks become active when the ground temperature is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so sometimes ticks will be out even if there is snow on the ground. Because ticks become active even when it is relatively cold outside, many pet owners are caught by surprise in the early spring when they find a tick on their dog.
Ticks find their hosts by detecting breath and body odors, or by sensing heat, moisture, vibrations, even shadows. Ticks cant jump or fly, but they are well adapted to finding and latching onto hosts.
Ticks will rest on the tips of grasses or shrubs in a position known as questing. In this position, they hold onto the plant with some of its legs, while having their first pair of legs outstretched, just waiting for a host to brush by. Although Minnesota is home to several types of tick, it is the black-legged tick , commonly known as the deer tick, which can transmit Lyme Disease .
Unlike people, we think that only 5 to 10 percent of all dogs exposed to Lyme bacteria ever get sick with the disease.
Veterinarians will routinely screen for exposure to Lyme bacteria.