Control And Prevention Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
The best way to protect dogs from Lyme disease is to use tick-preventive products year-round. Several safe and effective commercial parasiticides are available for tick control on dogs and cats, including systemics , topicals , and collars. Regardless of choice, clients should be encouraged to comply with manufacturer recommendations. For further protection of dogs living in or visiting Lyme-endemic areas, another effective strategy is vaccination. Several commercial Lyme vaccines for dogs are available. These vaccines consist of either bacterins or specific recombinant or chimeric outer surface proteins , with or without adjuvant. Vaccine-induced antibodies against OspA are thought to work by entering the tick during early stages of feeding and killing the borreliae inside the tick before they are transmitted to the dog. Vaccine-induced antibodies against OspC are thought to help kill or control borreliae during early infection in the dog around the tick bite site. However, because Ixodes ticks can carry other pathogens for which vaccines are not available, use of a vaccine in lieu of a tick-preventive product is not recommended. Risk-based decisions based on location, dog breed, travel, and veterinary consultation will help determine whether a dog would benefit from Lyme disease vaccination.
Which Antibodies Does The Vaccine From Merial Induce
It is a recombinant vaccine based on Osp A. Vaccinated animals should develop high antibody levels to OspA and maintain negative antibody levels to the remaining two antigens. Infected/non-infected animals can be identified based on OspC and OspF antibody values. Detection of the early Lyme infection stage is possible after using this vaccine.
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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Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It
The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.
But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.
In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.
In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.
Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.
Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:
Transmission Of Lyme Disease
Although B burgdorferi are transmitted through the bite of infected ticks, ticks do not, themselves, cause the disease.6 Ticks are vectors only. The infection cycle usually starts when a tick larva obtains its first blood meal from an infected reservoir host, typically a white-footed mouse in the east or a western gray squirrel in the west.1 Other reservoir hosts for B burgdorferi include shrews, voles, chipmunks, and deer.1,6 However, if the tick did not become infected while in the larval stage, it can still become infected through subsequent blood meals as a nymph or adult.2 Ticks of all 3 life stageslarvae, nymphs, and adults feed on multiple species of animals, including squirrels, deer , reptiles, amphibians, and birds. The ticks need to have a new host at each stage of their life before they can transmit B burgdorferi to a dog. If one host is reduced or missing , the infection rate goes down.3 Conversely, in years when reservoir species are abundant, the infection rate goes up.
After infection with B burgdorferi, Ixodes species ticks of all 3 life stages are capable of transmitting the bacteria. After the bacteria are inside the ticks, regardless of the tick life stage, the bacteria persist through each molt of the tick .1,3,4 Within Lyme diseaseendemic areas, the incidence of B burgdorferi infection in ticks can reach as high as 50% of nymphs and adult ticks.4,6
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Where Do Ticks Live And How Do They Get On Dogs
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods especially where deer populations are high. Ticks do not jump but only crawl and in seeking a host, will latch onto your dog when they pass by.
Lyme disease was named after a high number of cases that occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, but cases in dogs have been reported in every state in the United States. However, Lyme disease is more common in some geographical locations specifically, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and northern Pacific coast. Dog owners who live or spend time in these areas should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the preventative measures available.
Treatment For Lyme Disease
Treatment with antibiotics is indicated for dogs with a positive ELISA result and clinical signs of Lyme disease. The drug of choice is doxycycline. Although no optimal dose or duration of treatment has been determined,1 the Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends a doxycycline dose of 10 mg/kg PO q24h for 30 days,3 and the recommended course of treatment is usually 4 weeks.1,4 If doxycycline is unavailable or is contraindicated for a given patient, amoxicillin or azithromycin can be prescribed.1,4 For dogs exhibiting substantial joint pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids can be used. Glucocorticoids are not recommended.1,2 Doxycycline is recommended for dogs with Lyme diseaseassociated nephritis, but these dogs must also receive symptomatic treatment, based on the degree of renal changes.
Because of the low incidence of clinical Lyme disease, prophylactic treatment when a tick has been found attached to a dog is not recommended.2,3 Antibody titers are not a helpful guide to treatment because they can remain elevated for years.1
More specific information about treatment for Lyme disease can be found in the ACVIM Consensus 2018 update.4
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How Is Lyme Disease In Dogs Diagnosed
If you think your dog has been infected by a tick, and schedule an appointment. The vet will give your dog a physical exam and ask about the recent contact with ticks. Your vet will run two blood tests called the C6 Test and Quant C6 Test.
The C6 Test detects Lyme disease infection by checking for antibodies against a protein called C6. If your dog has been infected, these antibodies start to develop between two to five weeks after the tick bite. At this time, your dog might not even be showing any symptoms of Lyme disease. The Quant C6 Test follows, along with a urine test. A blood test can also check your dogs kidney function. These results are used to decide the best course of treatment for your dog.
Other tests that can give Lyme disease in dogs prognosis include microscopy, culture isolation, and a PCR.
Buhner Protocol For Dogs
Dr. Stephen Buhner has also developed a well-known and effective treatment for Lyme disease and co-infections for humans, and he recommends the following herbal treatments for dogs.
- Japanese Knotweed Root can reduce the inflammation from Lyme disease which in turn can reduce many of the symptoms that occur. The powdered form of the herb can be added to your dogs food at 3 tablespoons, twice per day morning and evening.
- Cats Claw helps raise the immune system to best fight the disease. The powdered form of the herb can be added to your dogs food at 3 tablespoons, twice per day morning and evening.
- Glucosamine Sulfate is a natural supplement that is often included in dog snacks to help joint problems. It helps with pain and inflammation and restores and protects cartilage. The powdered form of the supplement can be added to your dogs food at 2 tablespoons, twice per day morning and evening.
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Vaccines And Preventive Medicine Are Your Dogs Best Protection
We have 2 main ways to prevent Lyme disease. A vaccine is available which is highly effective at preventing infection. It is given as an initial series of 2 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart, and is repeated annually.
Tick preventative should also be given, even in vaccinated dogs, as there are multiple other tick-borne diseases in this area. We carry oral flea and tick preventatives which are highly effective. Topical products are also available over the counter or by prescription . Checking your pet for ticks after being outside and removing any you find also helps, although even people that develop Lyme do not usually ever find a tick on them!
Dosage Of Doxycycline For Dogs
The dosage of doxycycline for dogs will vary depending on your dogs health and condition. While the Merck Veterinary Manual recommends an oral dosage of 5-10 mg/kg per day, you should not attempt to adjust the dosage without the guidance of your veterinarian. Changing your dogs medication can lead to antibiotic resistance, which is dangerous for your dog and may also result in a longer recovery time.
If you have questions about your dogs dosage, contact your veterinarian. As with any antibiotic, make sure your dog finishes the full course of the drug, even if your dog is showing signs of recovery.
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How Much On Average Does It Cost To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
The cost of Lyme disease treatment in dogs can vary by a number of factors, including where you live. From there, Dr. Muller says, The costs often depend on the treatment duration. A four-week antibiotic course might cost around $800, plus the cost of the diagnostic blood tests may approximately be an additional $80 to $200 depending on the type of tests, in addition to the vet consultation fees. Add in the cost of your dogs prescription medications, and that can be costly for many pet parents. Having pet insurance can help cover these crucial veterinary expenses in a big way. That said, while Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers tick infections and tick-borne diseases like Lyme, not all pet insurance providers will. In addition to discussing your treatment options with your veterinarian, make sure to check with your insurance provider to see what conditions are covered.
What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
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Discussing Symptoms And Treatments With Your Vet
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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Lyme Vaccine For Dogs
If your petâs lifestyle includes outdoor fun like hiking, or if you live in Northeastern or Midwestern states where 70 to 90% of dogs test positive for Lyme disease in their lifetime, ask your vet about a Lyme disease vaccine. However, this shot is not a core vaccine like rabies, so you should discuss whether itâs needed with your vet .
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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What If A Tick Bites You Or Your Animal
If you find a tick on yourself or your companion, proper removal is crucial, since leaving the head embedded in the flesh will cause infection and increase the possibility of getting Lyme disease. Using the proper tweezers is important. Try Uncle Bills Sliver Gripper or his Tick Removal Kit, which comes with tweezers, a magnifying lens, alcohol wipes, two plastic bags for keeping the suspected tick for later identification, and a tick identification card. If youre in any doubt about whether or not you have removed the whole tick, see a doctor or vet as soon as possible.
Applying hot goldenseal tea directly to the infected area will help it heal faster. Vitamin C will also reduce infection and increase a return to health. An echinacea and goldenseal mixture taken internally will help fight off any infection or disease, while vitamin E taken internally and applied to the bite will also reduce infection and the chances of getting Lyme disease.
Waiting For Symptoms Is Not A Good Idea
While there is value to watching for symptoms of dog Lyme disease, if you start to see them in your pooch, it is a little too late. Your dog will already be suffering the effects of the illness and will require a longer treatment.
Humans often get a bulls-eye rash indicating the infection and can get treatment right away this wards off the devastating illness. However, you will not see a rash on your fur-covered dog and by the time you see the symptoms, the disease will be in full course.
As noted above, symptoms that are common to Lyme disease are joint pain, limping, fever, depression and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these signs or suspect your dog may have been exposed to Lyme disease, call your vet right away.
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