Treating Lyme Disease In Dogs
If you suspect your dog has a Lyme disease infection or is suffering any of the typical symptoms, itâs important to seek treatment as quickly as possible to prevent any long-term consequences. Typical treatments include 4-week courses of antibiotics. However, because the bacteria are difficult to remove, a second course of antibiotics may be needed for your pet to fully recover. And if their organs are affected further medication may be required. Since Lyme disease is not an uncommon ailment for dogs, your trusted veterinarian will be well versed in the best way to treat them
If you live in or frequent an area thatâs known for Lyme disease infections, you can have your dog vaccinated against tick bites. Itâs typically administered twice over a 2-4 week period, and an annual booster is required for full protection.
We know that dog lovers want to do the best by their pets, and ticks can be hard to spot. So boosting their immune system with The One supplement, and following the guidelines around preventing tick infections make easy points to follow when it comes to protecting your dogâs health.
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.
Treating Lyme Disease In Dogs Naturally
If you live in a Lyme disease endemic area such as the Northeast and upper Midwest and your dog is the outdoorsy type who picks up ticks on his adventures, you can use homeopathy to good effect in protecting him against Lyme disease.
Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom is a distinguished American homeopath, public speaker and author. Find her at joettecalabrese.com. Joettes family lives in the country, with plenty of deer and other critters nearby. The surrounding woods are considered a Lyme tick Mecca. Shes successfully used the protocol described below for many years on Buster as well as her human family members.
This protocol is not for long-term, chronic Lyme disease for that youll need to seek the expertise of a seasoned veterinary homeopath.
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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.
How To Prevent Dogs From Having Ticks
While it is healthy to bring your dog out often to play, keeping them indoors most of the time is still the best way to avoid ticks. After a fun walk outside, thoroughly check them for any signs of ticks or itching as the longer a tick stays attached to your dog, the higher risk of developing a disease.
Ticks attach to grass, shrubs, etc., and latch on to nearby animals so it would be best to maintain a clean environment to avoid harboring ticks.
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Natural Lyme Treatments For Dogs
When it comes to Lyme disease and exposure to the biting bugs that carry the disease i.e. ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, horseflies, etc. your dog may be your canary in a coalmine. In other words, because your furry friend is rambling through areas of higher exposure to these bugs than you, it may get exposed to Lyme disease before you do.
Consequently, you may notice your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, and if you do, you should contact your vet to have your pet tested for Lyme disease:
- Stiff joints
- Gastrointestinal problems
Like with humans, a 4-6 week course of doxycyline has the highest potential to knock the infection out and keep it from going into the chronic phase if caught within the first 60 days of infection onset.
However, if you dont catch it in time or if you are not interested in giving antibiotics to your pet, there are three natural treatments with high levels of effectiveness.
When Inflammation Becomes Chronic
Imagine if the acute inflammatory process was going on in tissues throughout your body and it never resolved. Thats exactly what happens with the chronic inflammation associated with chronic Lyme disease.
The driving force is bacteria invading cells. Its not an all-out invasion like you would find with an acute infection, such as pneumonia, however. Its an insidious migration of bacteria into tissues throughout the body in the brain, heart, joints, muscles, kidneys, intestines, everywhere.
When Lyme bacteria enter the bloodstream from a tick bite, WBCs gobble up the bacteria in an attempt to get rid of them. The bacteria, however, have sophisticated ways of staying alive inside the WBCs. Instead of eradicating the bacteria, the WBCs unintentionally become transport vehicles to distribute bacteria to tissues throughout the body.
On arrival, the bacteria surface and infect other cells. Its not as much a deluge of invasion as it is a random sprinkling. Tissues throughout the body become peppered with cells that have been infected with bacteria.
The Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are intracellular, which means they infect and live inside cells. The cells provide nutrients to make new bacteria as well as protection from the immune system. Once the bacteria have used up the resources a cell has to offer, they surface and infect other cells.
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Does Treatment Immediately After A Tick Bite Negate Signs Of Early Infection
Not every tick carries B. burgdorferi. The infection rate of ticks also varies with geographic region. Therefore, treatment should not be performed based on a tick bite alone. If the tick was found on the animal it can be sent in for B. burgdorferi PCR. PCR for Anaplasma can be performed simultaneously if requested. If the tick was infected, early treatment can be considered. However, a tick must feed for at least 24 hours on an animal or human for B. burgdorferi transmission to occur. Only a serological test will confirm whether transmission of B. burgdorferi occurred and the animal was infected. Antibodies can be detected in infected animals as early as 3-4 weeks after infection. Lyme Multiplex testing is recommended after that time. Treatment can be initiated immediately afterwards if antibody levels are positive. Treatment during this early infection phase is generally very effective.
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What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
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Does Lyme Disease Treatment With Antibiotics Affect Antibody Levels
Antibiotic treatment affects the pathogen . It does not directly influence antibody titers. However, if the treatment is successful and bacteria are removed from the host, the B-cells are not further triggered to produce new antibodies. As a consequence antibodies levels decrease after treatment. Thus, antibody levels are indicators of treatment success .
Zoonotic Risk Of Lyme Disease
Dogs cannot directly transmit Lyme disease to people however, they can carry unfed infected ticks into a household where they might feed on humans. In addition, people are often in the same Lyme diseaseendemic areas as the dogs and can independently become infected.1 Increased incidence of dogs with Lyme disease can be used as an indicator for human risk in the same area.6
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How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
While protecting your dog from Lyme disease may seem difficult, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your dogs risk of developing Lyme. Preventing Lyme is all about being a more attentive owner, so you can do it as long as youve got the time.
The first thing you need to do is use a preventative tick treatment to keep ticks away from your dog. You should be using flea and tick treatments on a regular basis as a pet parent, so talk to your vet if youre not using medication to prevent ticks. Most of these medications last for a few months, so youll need to administer a new dose every 12 weeks or so.
You should also check your dog for ticks regularly, especially after theyve spent time outside or in an area where ticks may be present. Tall grass, brush, and forests are common hiding spots for ticks, so take some time to comb over your dog after youve gone for a hike. All you have to do is run your hands over your dogs coat until you feel a lump. A closer look at the lump should tell you whether its a tick or some other problem.
If you do find a tick, you should remove it with tweezers, being careful not to break the tick and leave the mouthparts burrowed in your dog. If youre not sure how to remove a tick, there are plenty of videos online.
Understanding The Acute Inflammatory Response
Suppose youre walking barefoot in the yard one summer day and accidentally step on a sharp piece of glass hidden in the grass. Pain alerts you to the injury and you stop to assess the situation. If the wound isnt deep, youre up to date on your tetanus vaccination, and a rinse in the sink reveals no foreign objects in the wound, you place a bandage over the area, and youre back on your way.
Swelling occurs because blood vessels dilate to allow an influx of WBCs and flush the area with fluid. Macrophages and arriving WBCs engulf debris, foreign matter, and microbes that have entered through the open wound, and destroy the material with potent free radicals and hypochlorous acid. Its a noxious process that causes collateral damage to normal cells, but its part of the healing process.
Once the injury is contained and the mess is cleaned up, WBCs migrate out of the area. Surviving cells repair damage from the injury and the inflammatory process itself. Gradually evidence of the injury disappears like nothing had ever happened.
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How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease Or Other Tick
Recommendations on preventing ticks include these from AKCs Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein:
- Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet , on lips, around eyes, ears , near the anus, and under the tail.
- Remove ticks stat. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian.
- Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. Theyll be able to find any you may have missed.
- Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog.
- Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.
- Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet.
What Does Lyme Disease Look Like On A Dog
Before understanding the appearance of Lyme disease in dogs, we must know a bit more about ticks. So, lets discuss bugs on dogs, including how to recognize ticks, extract ticks from your dogs hair, and the danger of your dog developing Lyme disease.
Ticks wait at the tips of grass and plants where they cannot leap or fly until a mammals skin brushes against them, and then they crawl to a cozy area to feed on the blood. Ticks may infect hedgehogs, cats, sheep, deer, and people. Spring and October are the best times to see them.
Your dogs hair should be checked after a stroll in a wooded area or a grassy area for ticks. Even while most ticks arent harmful, they might make your pet feel uneasy. In addition to humans, dogs may get Lyme disease, which is difficult to detect but can lead to severe illness.
Ticks exist in a wide variety of sizes and forms, but their most common appearance is that of a tiny, flat, black oval. Ticks may grow to the length of a coffee bean after feeding on blood. While they may first seem to be a wart on a dogs skin, a closer study will reveal that they have eight limbs.
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How To Remove A Tick
While it may make you squirm, removing the tick from your dog is essential. Removal is first before using any dog tick home remedies.The longer a tick remains attached to the host , the higher the chance of transmitting disease. It also increases the likelihood of irritation of the skin. If you discover a tick, its important not to panic.
Create a barrier between your skin and the tick using disposable gloves or paper towels. The disease can transmit through the mucous membranes or by handling ticks. Use blunt tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the dogs skin surface as possible. Dont squeeze too hard, but ensure you have a firm grasp on the pest.
Use even pressure to pull the tick straight out from the skin. Do not twist or jerk to tweezers as the mouthparts may break off and remain in the skin . Continue applying even pressure away from the dogs skin, even if the tick doesnt release immediately.
If you want to have the tick evaluated for disease-causing agents, keep the tick in an air-tight container with a moist paper towel. To dispose of the tick, simply drop it into rubbing alcohol or flush it down the toilet. Take time to clean the area with disinfectant and wash your hands with soap. Now, you can start a dog tick home remedies
A Natural Cure For Lyme Disease
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Every year, at least 30,000 people and possibly 10 times that are infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, most in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, memory problems and even temporary paralysis. In a small minority of cases, the malaise can persist for many months.
So its worrisome that in recent decades, Lyme cases have surged, nearly quadrupling in Michigan and increasing more than tenfold in Virginia. Its now the single greatest vector-borne disease in the United States, Danielle Buttke, an epidemiologist with the National Park Service in Fort Collins, Colo., told me, and its expanding on a really epic scale.
Whats behind the rise of Lyme? Many wildlife biologists suspect that it is partly driven by an out-of-whack ecosystem.
Lyme disease is transmitted by bites from ticks that carry the Lyme-causing bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks get it from the animals they feed on, primarily mice and chipmunks. And rodents thrive in the fragmented, disturbed landscapes that, thanks to human activity, now characterize large sections of the Northeast.
If humans have inadvertently increased the chances of contracting Lyme disease, the good news is that theres a potential fix: allow large predators, particularly wolves and cougars, to return.
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