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Test Dog For Lyme Disease

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How Can Pet Parents Prevent Canine Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment for People and Pets

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 won’t 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 dog’s 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.

What To Do If Your Dog Tests Positive For Lyme Disease

Alex Vicente Updated on September 29, 2022

If you find out your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, it can be frightening if you dont know much about the disease. The good news is that just because a dog tests positive for Lyme disease doesnt mean that they have a bad chance of recovering.

Dogs should be treated with antibiotics if they test positive for Lyme disease. Many dogs may test positive for Lyme disease without showing any symptoms if theyve been exposed. Some dogs may contract serious symptoms. Lyme disease is preventable by controlling a dogs exposure to infected ticks.

Even if your dog isnt showing Lyme disease symptoms, a positive test means they could potentially develop symptoms in the future. Read on to learn more about how Lyme disease presents in dogs and what you can do to keep your dog safe from it.

How To Keep Ticks Off Your Dog

As they say, prevention is the best medicine. There is no need to worry about whether or not you should treat if your dog is never exposed to Lyme disease in the first place. Tick prevention is the cornerstone of Lyme prevention.

Tick preventives are available in a wide range of formulations, from topicals to collars to oral medications. Most topicals need to be applied monthly, and oral medications may need to be given once a month or every three months. Collars have varying efficacy lifespans, and you need to be sure that the collar is marketed for ticks and not just fleas. Ticks have shown resistance to certain medications in regional areas, so consult with your veterinarian about which products work well in your area. Ticks can be active even in cold weather, so year-round use of preventives is highly recommended.

Environmental management is also important. Ticks dry out in direct sunlight, so keeping your lawn mowed short and clear of leaf litter will help. Keep your dog out of wooded areas or fields of tall grass, especially in the spring and fall when ticks are most active. Fence your gardens to discourage deer and rabbits from bringing ticks onto your property, and control any rodent infestations in your house and outbuildings. Guinea hens, chickens, and to some extent ducks will all eat ticks, so keeping fowl and allowing them to graze your property is an all-natural way to remove ticks.

Kate Eldredge is a licensed veterinary technician from Plattsburgh, New York.

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Can I Give My Dog Lyme Disease Or Vice Versa

You cant give your dog Lyme disease, nor can your dog infect you. However, if either one of you has a tick, you should both be checked out by a medical professional. Its entirely possible that the tick may have traveled from your body to your dogs, or vice versa, without you realizing it. If you have an open wound, there is also a slight chance that the bacteria from the tick can pass through it, so make sure to be extra vigilant to keep yourself safe in those cases.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

VetScan Canine Rapid Lyme Test Kit, 25 Tests

Dogs can display several forms of Lyme disease, but the most common symptoms are lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In addition, serious kidney complications have been associated with Lyme disease in dogs.

Clinical signs of Lyme disease in horses include shifting-leg lameness, generalized stiffness, hypersensitivity to touch, weight loss, and poor performance. Sometimes, the bacteria can infect the central nervous system, leading to neurologic symptoms.

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What Tests Do We Have To Diagnose Lyme Disease

Culture & Polymerase Chain Reaction

Culture or polymerase chain reaction isolate and identify the organism. Unfortunately, these tests are not practical tools to identify B burgdorferi. Because this organism is not often found in the blood of infected dogs, results of these tests are usually negative, even in dogs with active disease.

Serologic Testing

Due to the limitations of culture and PCR, we must rely on serologic testing to identify B burgdorferi infection. Two types are widely commercially available:

Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease

There is a myriad of clinical signs which may or may not be present in dogs. Some dogs may exhibit no clinical signs whatsoever. Unfortunately, this does not mean the body isnt being affected negatively by the bacteria. Be sure to contact your vet if your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Painful and/or swollen joints
  • Intermittent and/or limb-shifting lameness Example: lame on the right front leg one day, lame on the left rear leg the next day, not lame at all the following day

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How Is Canine Lyme Disease Treated And Prevented

Because Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, once an animal has been examined and tested positive. The antibiotic of choice for canines is doxycycline. Treatment lasts for up to 4 weeks.

The Cabbagetown Pet Clinic offers a comprehensive Cabbagetown Care Program, which includes a canine Lyme vaccination. This is the only way to assure dogs in endemic and expansion areas, such as Toronto, are protected.

Is Lyme Disease Curable In Dogs

Officials harvest ticks, test for Lyme disease in Sacramento area

And now for your sigh of relief: Yes, Lyme disease in dogs can be cured if the treatment is applied in time. Thats why its super important to take your dog for a checkup if you suspect they were bitten by a tick, even if they dont show any active symptoms.

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Other Diagnostic Tests For Lyme Disease

For dogs showing active signs of disease, joint cytology can be helpful. Tapping 3 or 4 joints is recommended. In dogs with active disease, nondegenerative neutrophils in joint fluid may be increased. Culturing joint fluid to look for B burgdorferi bacteria is difficult and takes a long time thus, culture is not recommended.1

Other diagnostic tests that can be performed on symptomatic dogs include blood chemistry analysis, which may indicate azotemia or markedly decreased albumin. A complete blood count might show mild to marked thrombocytopenia and, if the dog has nephritis, mild to moderate anemia and leukocytosis. For dogs with nephritis, a urinalysis may show isothenuria and proteinuria.1

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Consensus group recommends routinely testing dogs in Lyme diseaseendemic areas for antibodies by using an in-house screening ELISA, evaluating dogs with a positive ELISA result for signs of joint pain/inflammation, and testing for proteinuria in the urine.3,4

How Much Does It Cost To Treat A Dog With Lymes Disease

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.

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What Should I Do If I Find Ticks On My Dog

Removing the ticks within 24-36 hours will usually prevent infection. Using tweezers, grasp the head as close to your pets skin as possible and pull straight out. Wash the area with soap and water, disinfectant with alcohol or hand sanitizer.

If possible, save the tick in a Ziploc bag and record the approximate date of the bite. If symptoms develop, contact our team at the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic.

Can Lyme Disease Be Cured In Dogs

Disease Tick

How is canine Lyme disease treated? Clinical signs of Lyme disease are treated with antibiotics, and symptoms often resolve within 3 days of treatment. A tetracycline antibiotic called doxycycline is the most common antibiotic used to treat Lyme disease.

What are the 3 stages of Lyme disease in dogs?

Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated.

What Happens If Lyme Disease Is Left Untreated In Dogs?

Untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Chronically infected dogs can develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction called Lyme nephropathy or Lyme nephritis.

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Impawtant Stuff To Know About Lyme Disease In Dogs

This Blog was originally published on:

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.

Lyme disease has become increasingly common in humans, and as a result, many pet owners have become concerned about Lyme disease in dogs. While this tick-borne illness is serious, it doesnt have to be a deadly one for our canine companions. That said, dog owners still need to be quite vigilant and responsible about taking proper precautions to prevent and treat Lyme disease in their pets. Heres everything you need to know about Lyme disease in dogs so you can stay informed and prepared.

Can Lyme Disease In Dogs Be Cured

And now for your sigh of relief: Yes, Lyme disease in dogs can be cured if the treatment is applied in time. Thats why its super important to take your dog for a checkup if you suspect they were bitten by a tick, even if they dont show any active symptoms.

Lyme disease in dogs is serious, but it is well within your power as a pet parent to help your dog steer clear of this condition. Some pet insurance providers, like Pumpkin, provide optional preventive care benefits that can help cover the costs of the Lyme disease vaccine, as well as a yearly vector-borne disease test. With proper preventive care, as well as treatment if your dog becomes infected, those ticks dont have to be so terrifying! Dr Wooten assures us. And you and your pooch can enjoy plenty of happy, healthy days ahead.

Additional ReferencesKlingborg DJ, Hustead DR, Curry-Galvin EA, et al. AVMA council on biologic and therapeutic agents report on cat and dog vaccines. JAVMA 2002 221:1401-1407.

Dambach DM, Smith CA, Lewis RM, Van Winkle TJ. Morphologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural characterization of a distinctive renal lesion in dogs putatively associated with Borrelia burgdorferi infection: 49 cases . Vet Pathol 1997 34:85-96.

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Can My Dog Recover From Lyme Disease

Provided the disease is detected and treated effectively early enough, with the course of antibiotics signs of Lyme disease typically resolve within the first 3 days.

However, the organism that causes Lyme disease is very good at hiding and while treatment is typically successful in eliminating clinical signs, dogs that test positive for Lyme disease will remain positive for years, if not forever. If your dog tests positive but is not sick, your veterinarian will tell you whether they recommend treating at that time.

Though most dogs infected with Lyme disease will develop arthritis, the silent killer is the Lyme organism and antibodies produced after exposure, which can damage the filter in the kidneys. The impact of this form of the disease on the kidneys can easily go unnoticed until it is too late. If your vet determines that the kidneys have been affected, this can be treated and monitored before severe renal problems arise.

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Prevent Lyme Disease In Your Dog

Better Test for Lyme Disease in Pets

The Honorable Dr. Rau. The results of Dr Raus investigation revealed that all of the patients who progressed to Stage 3 had imbalanced fatty acid profiles, according to him. Not surprisingly, this is true. Because low omega-3 levels induce an imbalance, inflammation can occur, which is one of the several cofactors mentioned above.

  • The Honorable Dr. Rau The results of Dr Raus investigation also revealed that all of the patients who progressed to Stage 3 had imbalanced fatty acid profiles. This is hardly a surprise. Because low omega-3 levels induce an imbalance, inflammation can occur, which is one of the several cofactors described above.

Furthermore, the negative impacts of traditional remedies such as.

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How Is It Prevented

Prevention of Lyme disease is multi-faceted. All dogs in Maryland are exposed to ticks, even if they are just in your yard or out and about in the neighborhood. Tick control techniques have improved dramatically over the past decade with the development of topically applied veterinary licensed and dispensed small volume liquid products, such as Frontline Topspot, which has the added benefit of killing fleas. Overall, these veterinary products are very safe to apply to your dog and cat and are very effective in killing ticks that may bite them. Closely examining your dog and cats coats and frequent grooming may help find ticks. However, the deer tick is extremely small and easily unobserved. Canine vaccines to prevent Lyme disease have also been developed and proven to be safe and effective when given annually after an initial series of booster vaccines. However, tick control is still very important, even when your dog is vaccinated against Lyme disease. Other tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis may still be transmitted to your dog through tick bites. While ticks will not infest your house like fleas, they may be brought in and carried onto you and other family members.

If My Dog Tests Positive Does He Need To Be Treated

The decision to treat Lyme disease is somewhat controversial since many infected dogs show no signs of illness. Factors that would support treatment include:

a moderate to high value of QC6 signs of illness compatible with Lyme disease at the time of testing a history of illness compatible with Lyme disease within the past year the presence of abnormal levels of protein in the urine.

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Lyme Disease In Dogs: 10 Ways To Prevent And Treat It

In contrast to people, Lyme disease in dogs is a less common occurrence after being bitten by a tick that is infected with the disease. Instead, dogs will frequently have symptoms such as fever, lameness, anorexia, depression, and, in rarer instances, nephropathy. Previously, it was believed that only the deer tick carried the disease, but it is now recognized that a variety of tick species are carriers of Lyme disease. When it comes to parasite-borne illnesses that affect both canines and humans, Lyme disease is the most widespread in North America and Europe.

Know your adversarys appearance here is what a black-leggedtick looks like:

When To Have Your Dog Tested

Testing for Lyme Disease in Dogs

If you live in an area where ticks reside or your dog is experiencingsymptoms of infection, a Lyme disease test may be recommended. Symptomsmay not begin to persist in dogs until months after the infection has been transmitted. High fever, soreness or swelling in the joints, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes and lack of energy can indicate this infection. In rare cases, dogs can develop problems with the kidneys, heart disease or complications with the nervous system due to Lyme disease. If no other complications persist, treatment is usually very effective. If a dog does not respond quickly to Lyme disease treatment, other conditions or infections may be indicated. Testing early and oftencan help to keep your dog healthy and identify Lyme disease before it leads to life-threatening complications.

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Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It

The biggest key here is to be very careful and very quick, 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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