Transmission Of Lyme Disease
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are often found in tall-grasses, thick bushes, marshes, and in the woods, especially in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast. So if you and your dog happen to be around terrain similar to that, be on the lookout! Ticks are waiting to get your dog when he walks by, so its best to be careful in areas like this or better yet, stay away from them. The whole process is extremely fast. In fact, once a tick lands on the dog and bites him, it can transmit the disease in less than 48 hours.
Blacklegged ticks are the primary carriers of Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded and deep bushy, grassy areas, especially near the woods. Its hard to avoid ticks because ticks are a year-long problem and not specific to any season, but the majority of cases occur from October to March, so its important to keep that in mind when going outdoors with your dog. Ticks are crawlers that latch on to your dog by hanging out at the tips of bushes and grass and then jump onto your dogs skin.
Ticks are not exclusive to woods, though. Even city dogs can come in contact with ticks that carry Lyme disease. Ticks cant be dehydrated, so you wont find them in low-cut lawns out in the open.
Once you see the tick, its tempting to immediately take it off the dog with your fingers. But this is not recommended. Instead, get a pair of sharpened tweezers and grab them from the head as far down as possible.
Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
What Are Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
When it comes to Lyme disease, dogs are often asymptomatic . However, here are some common signs of Lyme disease in dogs:
- Lack of appetite and depression
- General discomfort or malaise
- Lameness due to inflamed joints
- Sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog is displaying symptoms of Lyme disease, contact your vet to schedule an examination. Left untreated, signs of Lyme disease in dogs can progress to kidney failure and even be fatal in severe cases. Serious neurological impacts and cardiac effects may also take place due to untreated Lyme disease.
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Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.
- Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
- A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.
Other Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Dogs are more resilient against Lyme disease than other animals. According to an experimental study, only a few percentage of pet dogs that test positive for this disease develop symptoms.
Dog Lyme disease can also result in intermittent arthritis, similar to humans, and rarely results in a kidney infection. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in Joints and leg
- Signs of rash in areas such as the leg or the limb
- Signs of fever and illness
- Joint pain or
All of these symptoms are indicative of a tick bite.
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Lyme Disease From Adult Ticks
Adult ticks will seek new hosts throughout the fall. Their peak activity between late October and early November.
Adults prefer taller vegetation. Theyre usually seen 3 off the ground on high grasses or leaves. Adults often use deer as hosts but theyre also happy with humans, dogs or horses.
Its believed that 50% of adult ticks carry Lyme disease in endemic areas of the Northeast.
While adult ticks can carry Lyme disease, theyre less likely to pass it on to their host.
This is because theyre larger and easier to detect within the first 24 to 36 hours.
Note: the timing of peak activity for each life stage of the tick may differ depending on the area you live. Check with local health departments for peak tick activity where you live.
Prevent Your Dog From Getting Tick
No matter where you live, ticks can be hazardous to your dogs health. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks transmit babesia, ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other infections. Dogs that live where ticks are common should be inspected daily, even if they dont spend much time outside. Samanthas first bite occurred not in our tick-infested woods or fields of tall grass, but during her convalescence after being spayed at seven months, when her only outdoor activities were sedate walks along paved sidewalks. The timing of the bite was unfortunate, for a dog recovering from surgery is far more vulnerable than usual to infections of all kinds.
Prompt discovery and removal of ticks is key to preventing transmission of Lyme, says the Centers for Disease Control. Transmission of B. burgdorferi from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment. Daily checks for ticks and their prompt removal will help prevent infection. However, this takes some dedication, as the ticks that transmit Lyme are incredibly tiny.
For a full understanding of the range of chemical and non-toxic tick repellents for dogs, read, Protecting Your Dog from Tick Bites and Lyme Disease.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs: Signs And Prevention
Kathryn E. Reif
Dr. Reif is an assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University. Her research interests revolve around ticks and tick-borne diseases of veterinary, agricultural, and medical concerns. Research in Dr. Reifs laboratory includes studies of antimicrobial strategies to control tick-borne pathogens, tick-borne pathogen vaccine development, tick control, and studies of tick-borne pathogen transmission.
In the United States, Lyme disease is the most commonly diagnosed tick-borne disease of dogs and humans the primary causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, is transmitted via the bite of an infected blacklegged tick . The predominant vectors of B. burgerdorferi in the eastern half of the United States are Ixodes scapularis ticks, and on the Pacific coast of the United States they are Ixodes pacificus ticks. The pathogen is maintained in endemic areas through an enzootic cycle between wildlife reservoirs and Ixodes ticks. In highly endemic regions, more than 70% of local adult blacklegged ticks carry B. burgdorferi, posing a significant risk to both canine and public health. This article discusses the basic epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease in dogs in the United States.
Recovery And Management Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
You can expect to see improvement in mild cases of Lyme disease in dogs 3 to 5 days into antibiotic therapy. Severe cases may take longer and can be fatal if kidney damage is too advanced.
Antibiotics do not always eliminate Lyme disease. Dogs infected with Lyme disease will be prone to recurrence of the infection in the future, but antibiotics can be used again to treat the condition.
Owners can help manage their dogs condition by complying with their veterinarians advice and following the instructions on the medication. Learning to recognize the signs of Lyme disease will also help owners get their dogs started on medication as soon as possible to prevent serious side effects in the future.
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Are Humans At Risk
Can you catch Lyme disease from your dog? No. Dogs cannot directly infect people and Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another pet or from pets to humans. The only way Lyme Disease is spread is through tick bites. That being said, if a tick is on your dogs fur and it then comes into your house, theres a possibility that it could get on you as well.
In order to avoid exposure to tick bites, as a dog owner, you can also avoid the woods, tall grasses, and bushes, wear long pants, and check you and your dog for ticks each time you leave the outdoors.
Lyme Disease In Dogs The Who What When Where And Why
When we think of Lyme disease, many times we only think of humans being affected. But did you know that dogs can also contract Lyme disease? Increased white footed mice populations on the east coast are causing concern that this years risk of Lyme disease will be extremely high. Heres what you need to know about Lyme disease for dogs living in Central Indiana.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a tick borne disease caused by infection of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Lyme disease is spread through infected Ixodes ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include joint soreness, fever and decreased appetite. In severe cases neurologic and kidney disease can develop. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose in dogs because of the vague symptoms and it is believed that not all dogs show signs of the disease.
Who is at risk?
The Ixodes species of ticks that carry Lyme disease do not inhabit Central Indiana, but dogs that travel to other parts of the country where Ixodes ticks are prevalent are at risk of contracting Lyme disease while traveling to those areas. Maps of distribution of both Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus can be found at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Several prevention options are available through our online pharmacies. To shop online for your pets foods and medications, visit:
I found a tick on my dog! What do I do?
If you suspect your dog has Lyme Disease
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Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection
In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals dont show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.
In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.
Anorexia And Digestive Tract Upset
Lyme disease causes anorexia, which can manifest as a decreased appetite to the degree that substantially less food is consumed, or all meals or treats may be completely refused.
Anorexia can be caused by hyperthermia , arthritis , myalgia , renal failure, or other ailments associated with infection by Borrelia burgdorferi.
Besides eating less or refusing food, dogs infected with Lyme disease can have other digestive tract upset such as emesis or diarrhea related to hyperthermia, renal failure, or other health problems.
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Can Dogs Spread Lyme Disease To People
Dogs can be a good indicator of humans risk for exposure to infected ticks, since they frequent the same outdoor areas as their owners. A study published in May 2017 in the journal PLoS One suggests that testing canines for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can help predict areas where human Lyme disease risk may emerge.
A study published in September 2011 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found that areas with canine Lyme disease rates above 5 percent also had a higher-than-average rate of the disease in humans.
While the same ticks may affect humans and animals, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs can directly spread Lyme disease to humans. The risk to humans is that pets can carry infected ticks into the home.
On the other hand, cats may directly infect humans with the tick-borne bartonella bacteria through scratching or biting. Cats harboring fleas infected with bartonella bacteria can cause cat scratch disease , especially in children under 15 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Signs Your Dog Has Lyme Disease
Ticks can cause all kinds of problems for dogs, but Lyme disease is one of the most serious. When a dog is infected with Lyme disease, you may notice that they are lethargic and running a fever. Other symptoms include joint pain and loss of appetite. Leg and body pain may also be present, and swollen lymph nodes are also a possibility. These symptoms may cause your dog to be more still than normal or walk with a stiff, painful gait.
Symptoms may seem to vanish only to reappear later. Lyme disease has many long-term effects, and it is a difficult disease to diagnose because the symptoms dont stand out in any way. To diagnose Lyme disease, your veterinarian will ask you about the possibility of tick exposure and watch any symptoms, as well as complete diagnostic testing. Once your dog has been properly diagnosed, your veterinarian will provide you with treatment options.
Since all dog breeds are susceptible to Lyme disease, it is a good idea to use flea and tick preventatives year-round, especially if you take your dog hunting or on other outdoor adventures. In addition, it is a good idea to get your pooch vaccinated against Lyme disease.
- Swollen and sore joints
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Lyme Disease From Tick Larvae
Ticks arent born with Lyme Disease. They too get it from another living organism.
In the spring, ticks lay their eggs. By late summer the larvae hatch and are ready to feed.
They wait on the ground for a small mammal or bird to arrive and brush up against it.
The larva will attach itself to the small animal and begin feeding over the next few days. If this animal has Lyme disease, the larva will carry the bacterium in its stomach.
Mice and ground-feeding birds often serve as spirochete hosts.
When the tick attaches to its next host, the bacterium transfers into the blood of the new host.
Larvae are very hard to detect as they are no larger than a period in a print magazine.
Signs Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
- Swollen, painful joints
- Lameness in one or more limbs
- Swollen lymph nodes
The signs of Lyme disease vary from case to case. No signs may be seen, especially at first. When signs do appear, they may be vague and can easily be mistaken for another health problem.
In dogs, the most common signs of Lyme disease include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, and painful or swollen joints that cause lameness. The lameness may be intermittent and can shift to different limbs. Some dogs will be reluctant to move because of joint pain.
Without treatment, Lyme disease will affect the kidneys, causing vomiting, increased thirst and urination, and further loss of appetite. Dogs who develop kidney failure can become very sick and may not respond to treatment.
Nervous system issues are more common in humans but may also occur in dogs, potentially leading to facial paralysis and seizures. Secondary heart disease is rare but can cause respiratory distress and collapse.
The signs of Lyme disease in dogs are very different than those in humans. People may develop serious and sometimes long-lasting symptoms from a Lyme disease infection. However, only about 10 percent of dogs infected with B. burgdorferi will develop symptoms that require treatment.
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How Long After A Tick Bite Will Dogs Get Sick
If an infected tick has been on your dogs body for 24-48 hours, they have the ability to spread Lyme disease to your pup.
Once the bacteria makes its way into your dogs bloodstream, the clinical signs typically develop anywhere from 2-5 months after infection.
Some dogs have been known to develop symptoms years after their tick bite, proving just how varied this disease can be.
Not only can it take months for symptoms of Lyme disease to develop in dogs, but the clinical signs can come and go if the disease is left untreated.
For example, a dogs limp may disappear suddenly, only to return months later with a vengeance.
What Is Canine Lyme Disease
The risk for you and your pet specifically dogs of contracting Lyme disease is increasingly on the rise across areas of Ontario.
Incidence of Canine Lyme Disease easily keeps pace with the increased incidence of the disease in humans, and probably more. Although likely true that the incidence of Lyme disease is higher in dogs than humans, there is no national or provincial system for capturing the incidence of Canine Lyme Disease.
Lacking a national or provincial system for tracking, reviewing the human data for Lyme disease is important as an indication of the exposure and potential infection in dogs.
A Ticks Life
Ticks dont fly, jump or blow around with the wind. They are sluggish and lumbering and can be as small as a poppy seed. Bites are usually painless, so you or your pet may not know that theres been a bite.
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