Is Lyme Disease Likely
The chances that your dog will contract Lyme disease after one tick bite is impossible to say. Most tick species don’t carry the causative bacteria, but how long the tick is attached is also a factor in the disease transmission.
Dogs can serve as a meal for many different species of ticks, but according to National Geographic, it is black-legged deer ticks that transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. If you’re unsure if your home area is native to the black-legged deer tick , consult this map provided by the CDC.
How Can Pet Parents Prevent Canine Lyme Disease
Testing is required to diagnose a case of Lyme disease in dogs. Your veterinarian will use a blood test to confirm the presence of antibodies associated with the disease. Keep in mind that it takes at least four weeks for these antibodies to show up on a test. If your dog has recently suffered a tick bite, a test administered in the first four weeks wont offer any indication of whether your dog has Lyme disease or not.
Veterinarians will combine this test with their own physical evaluation of your dog when making a diagnosis. Once a positive test is confirmed, your dogs vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria at the root of their condition, although specific treatment protocols may depend on the health of your dog.
Even if your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the past, your veterinarian may recommend vaccination to prevent additional cases of Lyme disease in the future. This vaccination is performed in two phases, with an initial vaccination and another booster administered several weeks later. It is recommended that dogs receive an annual booster to maximize the efficacy of the vaccination. Beyond a vaccine, you can take other preventative measures by giving your dog preventative tick medications, as well as checking them regularly for ticks latched onto their skin. The risk of contracting Lyme disease increases the longer a tick is attached, so prompt identification and removal will reduce the likelihood of canine Lyme disease.
Can An Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated
Yes. This has been observed that some animals can still get infected after Lyme vaccination. This can be due to a low immune response of the respective animal and/or a very high exposure rate or Lyme prevalence in the area where the animal lives. A yearly check of the OspA titer is recommended for a vaccinated animal to ensure that the animal responded with high OspA antibodies to vaccination. Please indicate the name of the vaccine and when it has been last applied on the accession form.
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What Does A Tick Look Like
A tick that just attached itself to your dog will look like asmall gray dot on the skin of the dog. As the tick grows it looks likea mark that just happens to appear such as a mole. The tick will attachitself for 5 to 7 days. You can tell it is a tick by the scales at itshind legs. As the tick drinks the dogs blood it gets enlarged. Whenthe tick is done drinking, it will fall off, consume the blood itdrank, and then look for a new host such as another animal or person.
See our guide to tick and tickbite pictures.
It is important to distinguish between the Black Legged Tick and theDog Tick. The Black Legged Tick carries Lyme disease and can attach toboth humans and dogs. The Dog Tick, , prefersto attach to dogs and DOES NOT carry Lyme disease. Pictures of bothtypes of ticks are below:
Building Your Dogs Immune System
Finally, I can attest that hands-on therapies that support a dogs immune system help prevent recurrences. In addition to her early treatment with antibiotics, nutritional supplements, and herbal support therapies, I credit Samanthas monthly acupuncture treatments and chiropractic adjustments for her athletic, Lyme-free middle age.
CJ Puotinen, a frequent contributor to WDJ, is the author of, The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, and Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats. She lives in New York.
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How Is Acute Lyme Disease Treated
In cases of acute and subacute Lyme disease, the infection is usually cured after a round of antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for Lyme are doxycycline and amoxicillin, and treatment usually lasts between four and eight weeks. Within a few days after beginning the antibiotics, symptoms will begin to improve, but the full course of medication must be completed to ensure that the infection doesnt return.
Your dog may still seem pained and uncomfortable while taking the antibiotics, but vets dont usually prescribe painkillers for Lyme disease. Because its so difficult to diagnose Lyme disease, the symptoms need to be carefully monitored during treatment to ensure that the Lyme bacteria truly caused them. Painkillers will mask the symptoms, causing them to appear as if theyre improving, even if they arent. So Vets are hesitant to use them concurrently with antibiotics.
If symptoms dont resolve after a round of antibiotics, or if they clear up and then return later, the dog may be rediagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. However, even if symptoms never recur, the dog is still likely to carry small amounts of the bacteria for the rest of its life, as antibiotics rarely eliminate the infection.
What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
The most common Lyme disease in dogs treatment is a course of antibiotics to help your dog fight off the infection. Symptoms typically go away quickly when the dog responds well to antibiotics. Your vet may also give you further instructions to care for your dog as it recovers.
The standard antibiotic to treat Lyme disease in dogs is doxycycline at a dose of ten milligrams per kilogram. Your dog will have to take this medication orally every 24 hours for 30 days. Some dogs may need a longer course of antibiotics to fight off the infection.
If left untreated, Lyme disease in dogs can be fatal. While antibiotics help relieve symptoms, dogs may still feel some lingering effects of the infection. Some dogs may even experience chronic joint damage.
Lyme Disease Vaccination Controversy
Few holistic veterinarians recommend the Lyme disease vaccine, even in dogs that live where Lyme disease is widespread. Its side effects are so severe, says Beverly Cappel, DVM, that I would much rather treat the disease itself. I dont recommend the vaccine, dont carry it, and never use it. When it first came out, we treated dogs for seizures, kidney failure, paralysis, stiff neck, and autoimmune bleeding disorders. Some dogs died and some were permanently damaged. Vaccines dont always work, so a dog thats supposedly protected may get the disease anyway. The newer vaccine causes fewer side effects, but it still has some. No matter how you look at it, I think the risks of vaccination far outweigh the benefits.
Even the traditional veterinary medical community has some issues with the Lyme vaccine.
At the University of California at Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital , the routine vaccination of household dogs for Lyme disease is not recommended. According to the UCD VMTH Vaccination Protocol for Dogs and Cats, Lyme Disease is not a proven problem in California, therefore, most dogs are at low risk. Moreover, there is no evidence at this time that infection leads to any significant chronic disease problem in dogs or that infected dogs are public health risks. Vaccine reaction problems occur occasionally and may outweigh health benefits. We do not stock Lyme Disease vaccine.
Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
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Is Kidney Failure In Dogs Painful
Kidney failure in dogs can be painful depending on the type of injury, insult, or disease that causing kidney failure. It is always difficult to determine pain in dogs, as they cannot speak to us, but we can tell if they are uncomfortable or sick. Your veterinarian can help you keep your canine friend as comfortable as possible while fighting kidney failure.
Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme
This stage of Lyme disease happens weeks or months after a bite from an infected deer tick. Symptoms in this stage are a bit different and can be more sever than in stage one, because the bacteria is spreading through the body. In stage two, patients can experience fever, conjunctivitis, memory loss, interrupted sleep, mood swings, and numbness in extremities. Sufferers might feel as if they have a severe case of flu in stage two.
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Is My Dog At Risk Of Canine Lyme Disease
The short answer is a resounding yes. If you walk your dog in one of Torontos many wonderful series of wooded trail systems, you and your dog are susceptible. Canine Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Toronto area, initiated by the bite of infected, Ixode scapularis, also known as Deer or Blacklegged ticks. While not all variations of ticks carry Lyme disease, populations of Blacklegged, Deer and American Dog ticks continue to expand in the GTA and other parts of Ontario.
Canine Lyme Disease Risk Assessment:
If you answered YES to any of these questions, protection against disease-carrying ticks a small, chewy and tasty treat for your dog is recommended.
Lyme Disease Dog Vaccine
Caninetick vaccines and vaccinationare one possible approach for avoiding future cases of Lyme disease.However, not every veterinarian is in agreement as to whether or notthey are necessary, even in areas with a high incidence of Lyme. Thosethat support the Lyme vaccine believe that it has no side effects andwill prevent a dog from from problems that can be caused by Lyme suchas arthritis and swollen joints.
There are two types of Dog Tick and Lyme disease vaccines:
Those veterinarians that are opposed to recommending a Lyme vaccinefor dogs believe that most dogs have minor symptoms that can be easilytreated with antibiotics. They prefer to recommend over the counter dogtick medications that can keep ticks from remaining on your dog. According the Merck, the company behind the dog Lyme Vaccine, the vaccine is proven well tolerate and effective in a “safety trial of more than 600 dogs. The vaccine itself has been administered to more than 4 million dogs.
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Different Treatments May Work For Different Types Of Lyme Disease Infections In Horses Fact
With more details offered in the new testing by Cornell, we can now identify if a horse is recently exposed, suffering from the acute early stages of the infection, or experiencing chronic infection. Treatment may vary based on how long the horse has been experiencing symptoms and the details of their test results.
For example, a horse with recent exposure and early stages of acute infection may respond to doxycycline since the disease has not yet settled in the horses system. However a horse with a low grade chronic infection, while their test counts may be on the lower side of the positive range, may need more aggressive, longer term treatment with the more expensive antibiotic, minocycline. Both drugs are tetracycline antibiotics, but based on their different chemical makeup, can treat horses differently.
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.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Transmitted From Pet To Pet
Lyme disease is seen in dogs, cats, and humans but thankfully, no, Lyme disease is not contagious, as it can only be transmitted via a tick bite. However, if one of your dogs or cats develops it, youll want to get all of your pets checked for the illness, as they may all be at risk of exposure to the ticks that infected your sick fur baby. You may even want to get yourself checked as well, as people are usually in the same places as their pets.
How Much On Average Does It Cost To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
The cost of Lyme disease treatment in dogs can vary by a number of factors, including where you live. From there, Dr. Muller says, The costs often depend on the treatment duration. A four-week antibiotic course might cost around $800, plus the cost of the diagnostic blood tests may approximately be an additional $80 to $200 depending on the type of tests, in addition to the vet consultation fees. Add in the cost of your dogs prescription medications, and that can be costly for many pet parents. Having pet insurance can help cover these crucial veterinary expenses in a big way. That said, while Pumpkin Pet Insurance covers tick infections and tick-borne diseases like Lyme, not all pet insurance providers will. In addition to discussing your treatment options with your veterinarian, make sure to check with your insurance provider to see what conditions are covered.
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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.
What Causes Lyme Disease
Most people believe that ticks cause Lyme disease, but this is only partly true. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is picked up by deer ticks when they feed on infected animals. When a tick carrying the bacteria finishes its feeding which may be you or your dog bacteria from the ticks saliva gets left behind, entering its new host.
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