Lyme Disease Treatment For Dogs
According to Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC, DABT, of St. Paul, Minnesota, the decision to treat should be based on the presence of clinical signs, breeds at risk for developing life-threatening chronic effects , and presence of proteinuria or microalbuminuria. Dogs with clinical signs should be treated to provide relief, and breeds at higher risk of developing Lyme nephritis should be treated as a preventative measure.
Proteinuria and microalbuminuria are signs of kidney damage, and so suggest the potential for Lyme nephritis. Proteinuria is considered significant only in the absence of a urinary tract infection , so a UTI must be ruled out before proceeding.
Microalbuminuria cant be measured with a standard urinalysis it requires special testing, which is unnecessary if proteinuria is seen. It can also be caused by other types of infection or inflammation.
Doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for most Lyme disease cases. Other options are amoxicillin, minocycline, and Convenia . The dogs clinical symptoms should resolve rapidly after starting treatment, but the full course of medication must be given to ensure that the infection has been completely cleared and all spirochetes killed.
Before doing a biopsy, discuss with your vet how likely the results are to change treatment and prognosis. Kidney biopsies can damage the kidneys and rarely impact treatment or prognosis. Glomerulonephritis can also be diagnosed via urine protein:creatinine ratio.
I Found A Tick On My Dog Did My Tick Prevention Product Not Work
Most tick preventatives do not prevent attachment but will kill the tick within a few hours of attachment. Products that contain permethrin prevent attachment because they have repellant properties. Collars that contain permethrins or amitraz also act to prevent tick attachment . Tick collars should always be placed so that they do contact the skin in order to be effective.
Topical permethrins should never be applied near cats as they can cause seizures in cats.
Should Every Dog That Is Positive For Lyme Be Treated
Treatment of non symptomatic Lyme positive dogs is not currently recommended. A majority of internal medicine specialists who crafted a Consensus statement about Lyme disease in dogs did not recommend treatment for all dogs with Lyme disease.
The panelists who do not advocate routine treatment of asymptomatic Lyme positive dogs believe doing so promotes overuse of antibiotics. They also cite lack of evidence that treatment decreases the risk of subsequent illness. Furthermore, the Lyme organism, Borrelia, is not reliably cleared from the tissues with treatment and many dogs will commonly become reinfected at another point as well.
It is recommended to treat asymptomatic, Lyme infected dogs if a urine screen shows abnormal protein levels.
This indicates proteins are being lost through the filter unit of the kidney secondary to kidney damage. Protein loss from the kidneys is a sign of possible Lyme nephritis.
Specialists who do recommend treatment for asymptomatic Lyme positive dogs base their recommendation on the quantitative results of a Lyme c6 test. This is a test that gives a value for the amount of circulating immune complexes . Immune complexes that lodge into the kidney are responsible for the kidney damage incurred with Lyme nephritis. A higher value for Lyme c6 is sometimes used as a determinant for whether to treat asymptomatic dogs. There is no proof, however, that treatment will prevent immune complex disease in dogs
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Are There Vaccines For Lyme Disease
Several vaccines are available for various forms of Lyme disease. Because the bacteria mutates, vaccinated dogs arent completely immune to Lyme disease, but they are protected against many of the most common forms. Do keep in mind that some dogs arent able to receive certain Lyme vaccines for health reasons. But your vet will be able to examine your dog and let you know which vaccinations are suitable.
Lyme vaccines are considered safe, contrary to the popular myth that they can make Lyme disease worse if its contracted in the future. Aside from the typical tenderness and itching around the needle site, there are typically no ill effects associated with the Lyme vaccines. They can cause false positives on certain Lyme disease tests, however, so if you have your dog tested for Lyme in the future make sure to mention the vaccines.
Prevention Of Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is often based on the signs and history. For example, a veterinarian might suspect Lyme disease in a dog with recent lameness, a mild fever, and a history that includes possible exposure to ticks. Standard blood studies are not very helpful in diagnosis because the results tend to fall within normal ranges despite signs of infection. However, these tests may be important in order to rule out other causes of disease. Antibodies against the disease-causing bacteria can often be detected 4 to 6 weeks after the initial infection and help confirm the diagnosis.
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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.
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 .
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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
What Does A Dog With Lyme Disease Look Like
Many animals can have Lyme disease and show no signs. In dogs, the most common signs include fever, loss of appetite, painful or swollen joints, lameness that comes and goes, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy. If Lyme disease is left untreated it can lead to damage in the kidneys, nervous system, and heart.
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Treatment Of Lyme Borreliosis In Animals
A long course of antibiotics is indicated to treat infection in clinically ill animals
Symptomatic therapy should be directed toward the affected organ system and toward pain management
Immunosuppressive therapy is indicated in the case of infection-related autoimmune reactions
Some animals may remain seropositive after successful treatment
Antibiotic therapy is indicated in all animals with clinical signs attributed to Lyme borreliosis. Treatment of healthy seropositive animals is problematic because of the inability to monitor response to treatment and the potential for adverse drug effects. Antimicrobials in the tetracycline and beta-lactam families have been shown to be effective in treating Lyme borreliosis in dogs and horses. A long course of antibiotics is indicated. Chronic infection in dogs and horses is not well documented, so the utility or efficacy of treatment beyond 4 weeks is unknown. Symptomatic therapy directed toward the affected organ system and clinicopathologic abnormalities is also important.
Quantitative C6 antibody assays are sometimes performed before and after treatment to monitor response to therapy, although titers do not always decrease after treatment, and some animals remain seropositive. Successful treatment is therefore focused on the resolution of clinical signs rather than serologic data. An increased titer after treatment may represent a relapse or reinfection.
How Should You Monitor A Dog That Is Positive For Lyme Disease
Although routine treatment for asymptomatic dogs that are positive for Lyme is not routinely recommended, routine monitoring is recommended. A urinalysis with a urine protein quantification is recommended. Urine protein loss indicates damage in the kidneys and concern for development of Lyme nephritis. Luckily less than 2% of Lyme positive dogs develop urine protein loss .
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Could Your Dog Have Untreated Lyme Disease
If you are nervous your dog has untreated Lyme disease, it should be comforting to know that MOST dogs infected with Lyme disease and cats do not get sick from Lyme disease! Your veterinarian can easily test for Lyme disease by a simple blood test that can be performed in the clinic.
Only 5% of dogs develop Lyme disease symptoms. Of the dogs that develop Lyme disease symptoms, the two main diseases they develop are: severe joint inflammation and pain and more rarely: severe kidney failure .
The Critters That Cause This And How They Pass It On
The problem starts with the Ixodes species of tick . These critters carry the bacteria that cause Lyme: specifically a gram negative spirochete called Borrelia burgdorferi . This infectious agent multiplies within the tick and will enter the animal at the end of the ticks feeding cycle . The agent then replicates in the skin at the tick bite site followed by migration through the tissue. Lyme disease is endemic to the northeastern United States , north central states and northern California.
Lyme does not begin to show signs in a dog for weeks to months following infection. The most common signs are fever, lack of appetite and joint pain. The most serious possible consequence of infection with Lyme disease is glomerular disease leading to renal failure .
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What Causes Kidney Failure In Dogs
Any disease that affects the kidneys can cause the kidneys to fail. These conditions can include:
Dental disease – When bacteria build up on the teeth and gums, this can lead to advanced dental disease. The bacteria can enter the blood stream and attack multiple organs, causing irreversible damage to the kidneys in addition to the heart and liver.
Toxicosis – When the kidneys are poisoned, this can lead to cell damage within the kidneys. It can happen when your dog consumes drugs or poisons .
Geriatric degeneration – As your dog ages, cells can break down and die. This also happens in the kidneys and can lead to kidney disease.
Bacterial infections – If your dog swims or drinks in contaminated water, bacterial infections such as leptospirosis can attack the system, causing the kidneys to become inflamed and renal cells to die.
Congenital disease – This category can include underlying illnesses and hereditary conditions – everything from agenesis to cysts.
Editorial Sources And Fact
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Does Lyme Tinnitus Go Away
Highly variable response rates of hearing loss and tinnitus to Lyme disease treatment have been reported. Sometimes these symptoms are resolved with treatment and sometimes they are not and other treatments may be necessary. Hyperacusis is a condition where patients can experience an extreme sensitivity to sound.
Arthritis Caused By Lyme Disease
There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma and degenerative joint disease.
Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. X-rays of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.
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Can Dogs Survive Lyme Nephritis
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For dogs with Lyme nephritis, treatment is primarily supportive care and will likely include fluid therapy along with dietary management and medications to support the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.
Also, can dogs fully recover from Lyme disease? If an athletic, healthy dog experiences sudden-onset lameness from inflamed, tender joints, and recovers overnight on antibiotics, it’s probably Lyme disease. In most cases, you see results in 24 hours, says Dr. Cappel. Many veterinarians prescribe antibiotics for two to three weeks, but Dr.
Keeping this in consideration, what is Lyme nephritis?
The doctors suspected Lyme disease, and proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia seen on blood work raised concern about the possibility of Lyme nephritis, a condition in which Lyme disease attacks the kidneys. It caused cells to be sloughed into the renal tubules and appear in the urine.
Can Lyme disease affect a dog’s kidneys?
Many dogs who develop Lyme disease have recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. Eventually, kidney failure may set in as the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid buildups.
How Long Can A Dog Live With Lyme Disease
Most dogs with acute or subacute Lyme disease will live just as long as dogs without the disease. Once the initial symptoms are cleared up by antibiotics, the bacteria may still be present in the body but in such small concentrations that it wont cause any ill effects. Overall, there is no decrease in either life expectancy or quality of life for dogs with these forms of Lyme disease.
Chronic Lyme and Lyme nephritis are still poorly researched conditions, and its not known exactly how they impact life expectancy. These forms of the disease ultimately cause kidney failure, which is the primary cause of death for many dogs with Lyme. Once diagnosed with kidney failure, dogs can live for up to four years, though many succumb to the disease within months or even weeks.
Lyme nephritis, in particular, is a painful condition, and the kidney damage it causes requires costly ongoing treatment and testing. Many owners of dogs with Lyme nephritis opt to euthanize rather than prolong the dogs suffering.
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Topic : What Testing Is Recommended For Healthy Animals
Panelists recommended that a qualitative Bb antibody assay be included with annual wellness and preventive care for healthy dogs living in or near endemic areas in North America . Screening for Bb antibodies allows: followup proteinuria screening for all seropositive dogs and early intervention for possible Lyme nephritis , followup minimal data base including CBC and serum biochemistry to identify cytopenias and kidney disease associated with tick and wildlife exposure, identification of seropositive dogs that may indicate risk of exposure of humans, horses, cats or other dogs in the area and the need for modification of preventive protocols and, recognition of successful preventive strategies in high risk areas. Panelists identified potential pitfalls when screening healthy dogs, including the potential for overuse of antibiotics in rare dogs with false positive assay results, overuse of antibiotics in healthy dogs that would never develop LB, assay expense, induction of anxiety in the owner, and the additional time necessary for owner education.
Statement: It is recommended to screen all healthy dogs that live in, live near, or travel to Bbendemic areas in North America for Bb antibodies. It is recommended to screen all Bbseropositive dogs for proteinuria .
Should You Vaccinate Your Dog For Lyme Disease
There are several vaccines available for Lyme, each of which work slightly differently. There are different strains of B. burgdorferi spirochetes in different environments, and each produces different outer surface proteins . Lyme vaccines are made with different combinations of outer surface proteins, and work differently based on what proteins they include.
OspA is produced by spirochetes in a nutrient-poor environment, such as inside a tick that hasnt fed, and is consistent across B. burgdorferi strains. If your dog has received a vaccine based on OspA, the OspA antibodies that are circulating in her bloodstream will enter a tick when it bites and attack the spirochetes in the ticks midgut. That means the spirochete is targeted before it even enters your dog, and because of this, just about every Lyme vaccine includes it. The downside is that your dog must have a high level of circulating antibodies in order for the vaccine to be effective. Antibody production varies from dog to dog, and a series of titers would be necessary to know how your dogs immune system responds to the vaccine and how long immunity remains. Because the dogs immune system is never directly challenged by the spirochete, there is also no potential for immune memory.
Some vaccines combine both OspA and OspC for dual coverage. Vanguard has developed a vaccine that combines chunks of seven different OspC proteins along with OspA.
Lyme Vaccines on the Market Today
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