Treatment For Lyme Disease In Cats
Animals that display signs of Lyme disease must be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics may not work the first time around, so a second round of treatment is needed.
Limb and joint conditions caused by Lyme disease respond rapidly to treatment in most cases, although these symptoms may not disappear completely in some Lyme-infected animals even after treatment. If left untreated, the infection can result in irreversible tissue damage.
How To Deal With Tick Bites In Cats And Dogs
Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to tick bites and tick-related diseases, which might not always be easy to detect.
Ensure you check your pets after walks through grassy and wooded areas for any ticks that may have become attached, and remove them with a tick remover. We advise that you thoroughly brush your dog after each walk.
Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040 rel=nofollow> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
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Site Of Infection And Pathogenesis
- Ticks inoculate spirochetes directly into the feeding lesion. However, transmission does not occur for 24 to 48 hours after initial attachment by an infected tick. Once inoculated, the spirochetes migrate in connective tissues, disseminate, and eventually establish long-term infections in peripheral sites including the heart, joints, and occasionally neural tissue. Resident bacteria incite inflammation with tissue damage. The spirochetes evade the host immune response and persist in tissues.
- It is important to remember that Lyme borreliosis differs among canine and human patients. For example, erythema migrans associated with spirochete migration from the tick feeding lesion is relatively common among people but rare among dogs.
- Subclinical infection with B. burgdorferi is common in dogs. Although the majority of naturally exposed dogs remain clinically normal, when canine Lyme disease does occur, the most common signs are fever, polyarthritis, lymphadenopathy, and anorexia. Other, atypical signs may occur in association with protein-losing nephropathy and include edema, weight loss, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Whether B. burgdorferi is capable of causing arrhythmias and neurologic signs in dogs is not clear.
- Clinical disease has not been described in naturally infected cats.
What Are The Dangers Of Ticks On My Cat
Ticks can be a very dangerous problem for cats. This is because some ticks carry disease when they feed. One of these diseases that ticks can carry is Q fever. If a cat contracts this disease it may begin to show a few of the following symptoms:
- High fever
- Occasionally seizures
Another disease that ticks carry is Ehrlichiosis. Once a cat contracts this disease a number of symptoms may begin to show themselves. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, swollen glands, lethargy, anorexia, swollen joints, discharge from the eyes and more.
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Where Do Ticks Come From
Ticks generally prefer areas with lots of dense shrubbery, such as woodlands, grassland or countryside gardens, however theyre also common in areas with deer, sheep, hedgehogs or rabbits. Cats get ticks most frequently during the spring and autumn, but the little parasites can be found at any time of the year.
If My Animal Is Positive On The Assay Should He/she Be Treated For Lyme Disease
If your animal is displaying clinical signs of Lyme disease and is positive on the Lyme Multiplex assay, it is advisable to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian. If your animal appears healthy, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment and develop a monitoring plan with your veterinarian.
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How Do I Remove Cat Ticks Safely
Cat ticks carry diseases, so its important to remove any that attach themselves to your cat as soon as possible. Rapid removal lessens the risk of disease.
This can be tricky, as you need to be careful not to squeeze the ticks body, or allow its head to get stuck inside your cat. Squeezing a ticks body can cause it to expel blood back into your cat, increasing the risk of infection.
Twisting them off your cat is the best removal method, and pet shops sell handy tick-removal devices to make this easier. Ask your vet for advice.
Lyme Disease: Symptoms And Stages
Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease include:
- muscle and joint aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Another common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash . As many as 80% of infected people may develop a rash, and roughly 20% of the time the rash has a characteristic bulls-eye appearance.
When left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Later-stage symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after a tick bite occurs. They include:
- heart-rhythm irregularities
- nervous system abnormalities
Permanent damage to the joints or the nervous system can develop in patients with late Lyme disease. It is rarely, if ever, fatal.
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Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but its not painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans.
Some people with lighter skin have a rash thats solid red. Some people with darker skin may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell. A rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
Identify The Tick You Were Bitten By
Its important to identify the tick because different kinds of ticks can carry different bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasites.
There are two families of ticks found in the United States: Ixodidae and Argasidae . Of the 700 species of hard ticks and 200 species of soft ticks found throughout the world, only a few are known to bite and transmit disease to humans. Knowing the type of tick will help you be aware of what possible symptoms to watch for.
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What Is The Best Way To Prevent Canine Lyme Disease
- Prevent ticks from transmitting disease with one of our veterinary-approved flea and tick medications.
- Get your dog vaccinated.
- Inspect your dog for ticks after walks through wooded trails. Check your dog under their collar, under their tail, between their toes, under their legs and elbows.
- Remove ticks immediately. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will be infected. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers and learn the proper method of tick removal.
- At your next vet visit, ask our veterinarian to conduct a tick check during the exam. Well be able to find any you may have missed.
- Keep your grass mowed and refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas.
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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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How To Prevent Lyme Disease From Progressing
Learn the symptoms of early Lyme disease so that you can seek treatment promptly if you contract the infection. If you get timely treatment, you can avoid the potential complications of early disseminated Lyme disease and later stages.
- rash, such as:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
- a round or oval rash that can be as wide as 6 to 8 inches
What To Do If A Tick Head Is Stuck In Your Pet
If you do spot a tick, dont be tempted to use tweezers ticks latch on tightly, and you can remove the ticks body but leave part of the mouth, causing irritation and infection. Instead, your vet can supply you with a specialist tick remover. If a tick is removed within 24 hours, infection can be prevented.
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Defining Lyme Disease In Dogs
What is Lyme disease in dogs? Also called Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Dogs get infected with this condition if they get bitten by infected ticks, which the bacteria use as hosts.
An infected tick bite in dogs provides the Borrelia burgdorferi access to the bloodstream. Once inside, the bacteria begin to spread throughout various body parts. They can compromise different organ functions and affect the joints of affected dogs.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis And Treatment In Pets
Bring your pet for a veterinary examination if you notice any Lyme disease signs. Disease diagnosis in your pet is challenging because the signs are similar to other tick-borne illnesses. Ensure your veterinarian knows that you have noticed ticks on your pet, have traveled to an area where Lyme disease is prevalent, or have been hiking in a wooded area. Your veterinarian may recommend a specialized blood test to check for a Lyme disease infection if they suspect the disease is affecting your pet. Additional diagnostic tests may include blood work to check for infection and overall organ health, and imaging such as X-rays to examine your pets joints for other causes. Lyme disease is rarely fatal to pets but early detection will ensure a more positive treatment outcome. Pets with uncomplicated Lyme disease will not require a hospital stay, and will be prescribed a one-month course of antibiotics. Other treatments may include:
- Pain medication
- Immunosuppressive medications for complicated forms of the disease
- Blood and urine tests to monitor kidney health
- Blood pressure monitoring
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Consider Having Your Dog Vaccinated
Vaccination provides dogs additional protection against Lyme disease. If you live in tick-endemic areas, doing this preventive measure is highly encouraged.
Mind that several factors will be taken into account before your dog is given vaccination. These include the number of antibodies in his system as well as his lifestyle. Discuss them thoroughly with the vet to ensure your dog gets strong protection.
It should also be noted that this type of vaccine is not 100% effective. Thus, do not skip other preventive measures to avoid exposing your dog to Lyme disease.
Ticks are highly active during the spring and summer but are also present throughout the year. Integrating these preventive measures into your dogs daily routine will keep him protected from Lyme disease all year round.
Treatment For Lyme Disease
Cats that are infected with the Lyme disease will typically respondto antibiotic treatment. If the cat doesnt respond well toantibiotics, he may not be infected with the Lyme disease.
If left untreated, the Lyme disease will become chronic and willaffect the kidneys and the liver, causing symptoms such as increasedthirst, jaundice and lethargy.
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Contagiousness Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Is Lyme disease contagious in dogs? No, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted from one dog to another or from dog to human. Dogs are not hosts for bacteria, but ticks are.
However, the transmission of dog Lyme disease in your home may happen when an infected tick clings to your dogs fur after he goes outdoors. If this occurs, other pets and humans within the vicinity are at risk of infection.
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease once they are attached to dogs for around 12 days. As for humans, the transmission may occur when ticks are attached for about 23 days.
Cautions When Using Antibiotics
It is most important that you give your cat antibiotics strictly according to your vet’s instructions. You must give the antibiotics for the full course prescribed by your vet. Even if your cat’s symptoms seem to disappear very quickly, you must still continue to give the medicine for the full period your vet prescribed in the treatment course. Contact your vet for further instructions if you miss a dosage. If you stop treating your cat with antibiotics too soon or if you miss a dose the infection could return and when it does it may be resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Be alert to any signs of allergic reaction to an antibiotic from your cat. Allergic reactions to antibiotics can be very severe. Tell your vet if your cat has had such a reaction to any anti biotic in the past. Talk to your vet before giving antibiotics to a pregnant or nursing cat.
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Recognizing The Rash After A Tick Bite
It is important to understand that a rash is not always present or easily recognizable in early Lyme disease, and this can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Please refer to our poster of varied Lyme disease rash manifestations as a helpful identification tool.
When present, it is wise to take a picture of the rash with the date for your medical record, since a rash compatible with erythema migrans rash should prompt urgent evaluation and treatment. Lyme disease is most successfully treated in this first stage.
If you have a suspicious rash or your symptoms persist, please seek medical care immediately.
The erythema migrans Lyme disease rash is:
- Round or oval, enlarges in size over days/weeks, & will not fade in a few days
- Usually greater than 2 inches in diameter, often 6-8
- Usually uniformly red
- Sometimes but not often, a bulls eye rash with a red ring surrounding a clear area and red center
- Minimally tender, minimally itchy , and sometimes warm
- Often confused with spider bites
The incubation period from tick bite to rash is usually 3-10 days but can be 30 days.
The Lyme rash can spread through the bloodstream to other areas of the skin.
Sometimes blisters develop in the center of the rash.
Tick bite reactions are often confused with the rash of Lyme disease.
Tick bite reactions:
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Common Types Of Ticks That Transmit Dog Lyme Disease
Several varieties of ticks can transmit Lyme disease in dogs. However, some of the most common types are:
- Western black-legged ticks
- Castor bean ticks
- Sheep ticks or taiga ticks
- Deer ticks or black-legged ticks
Amongst the 4, black-legged ticks are responsible for rampant Lyme disease transmission in dogs living in the United States. Sheep ticks and castor beans are the more common carriers of dog Lyme disease in Europe.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Cats
Cats rarely have signs of Lyme disease . While humans commonly see a red bulls eye rash around the bite, this is uncommon for dogs and cats. Black fly bites are commonly mistaken for a Lyme rash, and a veterinarian should carefully examine the pet.
The most common symptoms, when present, include:
Animals with a more severe form of Lyme affecting their kidneys may show:
Edema in the limbs
Severe cases may cause damage to the nervous system and heart.
How Do Ticks Give Cats Lyme Disease
The bacteria Borrelia burgdorfi is carried by blacklegged ticks who attach themselves to deer, mice, and other small animals. This bacteria doesnt make those animals sick but can cause Lyme disease when carried to another animal or human. Certain kinds of ticks in specific stages of their life cycle are most likely to give Lyme disease to your cat.
In the springtime, ticks in grass and other kinds of vegetation will attach themselves to a host. Almost immediately, the ticks bite results in the reproduction of Borrelia burgdorferi in the hosts body. Your cat can show early signs of Lyme disease as early as four weeks after theyve been bitten.
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