Lyme Disease In Dogs And Cats
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world.
The bacteria borrelia is carried by deer ticks and causes infectious Lyme disease, which is transmitted when ticks feed on infected animals such as deer, birds, and mice. This infection is then passed to other animals when the infected tick bites them.
Is There A Vaccine For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Yes. Your veterinarian may recommend the Lyme vaccine if your dog lives in a high-risk area or is in high-risk situations regularly. Like all vaccines, the Lyme vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Even with vaccination, your dog will still need monthly preventatives, and you should still take other preventative measures, like avoiding areas with ticks and manually checking your dog for ticks.
Tiny Deer Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
Although the tick prefers certain creaturessuch as voles, white-footed mice, or deerupon which to feed during the various stages of its life cycle, it is quite willing to feed on people or dogs. Regardless of its stage of development , if the tick carries the bacteria in its body, people and dogs can become infected if bitten. Once a tick attaches, it takes 1-2 days for it to transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so prompt removal of ticks is important. Risk of transmission is highest during periods when the nymphs and adults are actively seeking hosts.
Lyme disease in dogs has been reported in every state in the United States, but certain geographical areas are much more likely to harbor bacteria-carrying ticks than others. Infection rates of ticks vary, but can be as high as 50%. Areas in the United States where it occurs most often include the northeast , upper Midwest, and Pacific coast. The disease is actually named after the town Lyme, Connecticut, where an early outbreak was first described. Lyme disease is also seen in Europe and Asia. The risk of Lyme disease being transmitted to people is increasing. In the last 20 years, the number of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control has about doubled, to around 30,000/year. Although the rate of occurrence of the disease in a geographic area is similar in both animals and people, animals, especially dogs, are at significantly higher risk because of their greater exposure to ticks.
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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.
My Dog Just Tested Positive For Lyme What Does This Mean
Canine Lyme disease is a complicated and often confusing disease. Here are the answers to many commonly encountered questions about Lyme disease and some explanations for our current recommendations surrounding yearly Lyme vaccination, seasonal tick control products, and Lyme testing.
What causes Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick infected with a spirochete bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Here in Minnesota, the tick that transmits Lyme disease is Ixodes scapularis, more commonly known as the “deer tick.” The deer tick has three life stages within a 2 year life cycle. Humans and pets are usually infected by nymphs or adult ticks . The Lyme hotspots in MN are typically central MN and the MN/WI border.
How does Lyme disease differ in humans and in dogs?
Over 90% of infected humans will show clinical signs of Lyme disease. The initial signs of Lyme disease in humans are often the classic bull’s eye lesion and flu-like symptoms. Unlike their human owners, clinical signs of Lyme disease are observed only in approximately 5-15% of infected canine cases. When early clinical signs occur, they typically occur about 2 months after the infection. Signs include lameness , arthritis in one or multiple joints, enlarged lymph nodes, lethargy , and fever. Skin lesions are very rare in dogs.
How common is Lyme infection in dogs?
How does Westgate test for Lyme disease?
Why should my dog that is showing no symptoms of Lyme disease be treated?
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How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
With summer right around the corner, there is always an increased risk of Lyme disease amongst other tick-borne illnesses. And its not just humans who need to watch out, but also our pets.
They cant check themselves for ticks, that is why it is important for pet parents to regularly check their furbabies for any signs of the parasites, as well as take the necessary precautions to make sure your pets stay tick-free. Its important to keep your pets free of ticks not just for their health, but for yours as well since there are many tick-related illnesses that can affect humans as well.
One of the most common tick-transmitted illnesses throughout the world is Lyme disease, which is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The ticks often transfer it to animal hosts via a bite.
There are different kinds of ticks, and all of them can transmit Lyme disease. There are other blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, canine ehrlichiosis, and babesia canis all of which have the potential to be lethal.
While not all ticks are infected and carrying diseases, your dog does have a higher chance of contracting Lyme disease if they live in a location where there have been reported cases of Lyme disease in humans.
Once removed, youll want to watch your dog as well as the tick bite site for signs of Lyme disease.
Some of the symptoms include the following:
Kidney diseaseHeart DiseaseNervous system disorders
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Where Are Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease Found
Though Lyme disease occurs in every state, risk of infection varies. The vast majority of cases are from the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and the Pacific case, though recent changes in deforestation, and migrating bird and deer populations have impacted these statistics. Ticks are most often found in farm fields, wooded areas, shrubs and long grass.
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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How To Diagnose Lyme Disease In Dogs
As we mentioned above, Lyme disease is a bit more challenging to detect in our furry friends.
Most cases of Lyme disease in dogs are diagnosed with a combination of reviewing their clinical signs, assessing their risk of exposure to Lyme disease, and a series of blood tests.
However, some blood tests may only be positive when their body has produced a detectable level of antibodies, meaning false negatives are common.
If your veterinarian fears Lyme disease in your canine friend, the standard diagnostic options they will explore include the C6 SNAP test and the Quantitative C6 test.
The C6 SNAP test is a preliminary test that can be performed in their office, while the QC6 test will require a blood sample to be examined in a lab.
The snap test searches for the presence of antibodies released by the Lyme disease bacterium, while the QC6 can measure the specific levels of antibodies present.
This can also help your vet determine how aggressive their treatment will need to be.
Its also important to note that your veterinarian may suggest performing a full panel of blood work to measure their kidney enzymes, as some cases of Lyme disease can have a devastating impact on the dogs kidney function.
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.
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Most Of The Tick Control Products We Use Don’t Repel Ticks
There are many good options for flea and tick preventatives on the market. There’s the Lyme vaccine. There’s the more old-school route of tick collars. And there are perhaps the most commonly used monthly topical and oral options.
If you’re one of the countless pet owners who gives their dog a chewable medication or squirts a preventative oil on their skin, you might be surprised to learn that neither of those tick control tactics actually repel the little bloodsuckers from your dog’s body.
“Owners come to us and say, ‘Well, you know, we’re using this flea and stuff, but we still see ticks on our dog,'” recalls Bloom, who practices veterinary medicine in a heavily wooded section of New Jersey. “Most of these flea and tick products will not actually repel the tick, will not keep the tick from walking onto your dog, and will not keep the tick from biting your dog. What they’ll do is they’ll kill the tick after the tick has bitten.”
And it turns out, that’s perfectly fine.
“If a tick bites your dog, it can transmit the bacteria, but only if it stays attached,” Bloom elaborates. “If the tick is killed with less than 24 hours attachment to your dog, it won’t transmit disease.”
If you’re concerned about ticks hitching a ride into your house, though, there are some products that do physically repel ticks a tick collar, for example. But Goldstein argues that’s not always in your family’s best interest.
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.
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, followed by amoxicillin, then azithromycin. Treatment lasts for 4 weeks. Occasionally, the initial infection will recur, or the pet will become re-infected by being bitten by another infected tick.
Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It
The biggest key here is to be verycareful and veryquick, Dr. Wooten advises. This is because your dog is most likely to contract Lyme disease from a tick thats been feeding for 12 hours. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Protect your hands from potential bacteria and bites with a tissue or disposable gloves.
- Get a great set of tweezers dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Use these to remove any moving ticks you find immediately by pulling it straight up and off of your dog.
- If the tick isnt moving and is stuck on your dogs skin, get your tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight up and off of your pet. Be careful not to twist your tweezers, as this may rip off only part of the tick and leave its mouth on your pet and leave your dog at risk of infection.
- If necessary, ask someone to help restrain your dog while you remove the tick.
- Place the tick in rubbing alcohol or crush it. If you crush the tick, be sure not to get any of it on your skin.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs: What You Need To Know
Youve probably heard of Lyme disease. You or someone you know may have even tested positive for it, but did you know that your furry friend is just as at-risk for exposure to this dangerous disease as you are, maybe even more so? Fortunately, cats are not at risk for acquiring Lyme disease, but as we now know, their canine counterparts certainly are.
Research indicates that in 2016 and 2017, 1 in 8 dogs in Roanoke County tested positive for Lyme disease. In 2018, 1 in 9 dogs in Roanoke County tested positive, an improvement from previous years. It may seem hopeful that perhaps the tick population in our area is now less than what it was in previous years, however we strongly believe fewer dogs have tested positive for Lyme disease because of increased efforts to prevent disease transmission, like vaccination and year-round flea/tick prevention. So what exactly is Lyme disease and how can you protect your dog? Well answer these questions and more in this blog post!
What is Lyme disease and how is it transmitted?
How does Lyme disease differ in humans and in dogs?
Over 90% of infected humans show signs of Lyme disease and the initial signs of the disease in humans are typically the classic bulls eye lesion and flu-like symptoms. In dogs, on the other hand, clinical signs of Lyme disease are observed in only about 5-15% of infected cases. When early signs do occur, they typically occur about two months after infection.
What are signs of Lyme disease in dogs?
For Animals That Have Not Been Vaccinated Can Osp A Values Be Positive How Should This Be Interpreted
Antibodies to OspA have previously been interpreted as markers for vaccination. Non-vaccinated animals usually have low values for antibodies to OspA, while vaccinated animals develop these antibodies. OspA antibodies have been shown to protect from infection with B. burgdorferi.
However, there is accumulating evidence that antibodies to OspA can occur without vaccination. First, residual OspA is present on the bacterial surface at the time of transmission to an animal. This causes a low and transient OspA antibody response early after infection. Second, antibodies to OspA have also been associated with treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and with development of autoimmunity in human patients. Similarly, OspA antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs or horses can be considered as markers of chronicity and disease severity.
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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 .
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is often more challenging to identify in dogs than in humans, primarily due to the lack of a rash. While humans typically develop a characteristic bullseye rash around the location of the tick bite causing the infection, dogs dont develop this rash. Instead, behavioral cues are used to identify canine Lyme disease.
Those symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
- Lameness in one or more parts of the body
- Stiffness or pain in one or more parts of the body
- Swollen joints
- Overall loss of energy
While tick bites are the cause of Lyme disease, the development of symptoms takes place much later than the initial bite. Your dog may not show symptoms of Lyme disease until two to five months after being infected. The signs of Lyme disease in dogs can also bear similarities to the symptoms of other health conditions. For this reason, its crucial that dog owners seek out a veterinary diagnosis if they suspect their pet has canine Lyme disease.
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