Treating Dogs With Lyme Disease
Lyme disease in dogs is usually caused by a deer tick that passes the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria into the dog’s bloodstream by attaching itself to the dog. In order for a dog to become infected with a Lyme disease, the tick usually must remain attached to the dog for 48 hours or more. Lyme disease is a relatively new disease phenomenon and is affecting dogs and humans in almost every state in the country. The disease can be transmitted from the dog to humans and can lead to a painful death for the dog-if not quickly diagnosed and treated properly.
Topic 1a: Update On Borrelia Spp And Associated Ticks
There are at least 52 Borrelia species, including 21 in the LB group , 29 in the relapsing fever group , and 2 undetermined members. In dogs residing in North America, LB has only been associated with B. burgdorferi sensu stricto , of which at least 30 subtypes or strains exist, based on outer surface protein C genotyping. The strains appear hostspecific different strains are more common in people as compared with dogs., In Europe, coinfections of Bb with other Bbsl strains may predispose dogs to illness. Other Bbsl species causing human LB are not known to cause illness in dogs. The main tick vector for Bb is the 3host tick Ixodes scapularis in Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern states, and adjacent areas of Canada, I. pacificus in the Pacific states and Canada and, I. ricinus in Europe. Ixodes scapularis also may transmit B. mayonii in the upper Midwest and adjacent Canada causing LB signs and B. miyamotoi, in the Northeastern, MidAtlantic, upper Midwestern US and adjacent areas of Canada is a cause of tickborne relapsing fever in humans but is not yet known in dogs. Similarly, B. lonestari, transmitted by Amblyomma and other ticks, once thought to cause southern tickassociated rash infection in humans, has not been associated with illness in dogs. Relapsing fever Borrelia species have been described in sick dogs , and are transmitted by Ornithodorus soft argasid ticks, which only feed for 1590 minutes.
Can Lyme Disease Recur
Lyme disease is a serious disease caused by the spirochete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. Certain ticks are hosts to this bacteria, primarily the deer tick, or Ixodes scapularis, also known as the black-legged tick. The disease affects animals and humans. It is much more difficult to diagnose in dogs than people. Unfortunately, the disease can recur, either from a new tick or from a previous infection.
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Is There A Vaccine That Will Protect My Dog From Lyme Disease
A safe and generally effective vaccine is available for protecting dogs against Lyme disease. This vaccine is initially given twice, at two- to four-week intervals.
“Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.”
Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity. Vaccination against Lyme disease will be determined by your pet’s lifestyle and individual risk assessment. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have regarding the type and frequency of vaccination with your veterinarian.
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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Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Veterinarians treat dogs with Lyme disease through a combination of medical therapy and supportive care. A 4-to 6-week course of antibiotics will be prescribed for dogs with clinical signs of Lyme disease, as well as for dogs that have a high antibody level, even if they are asymptomatic. Many owners see improvement within a few days. However, a second round of antibiotics is often required, as the infection may persist through the first round of treatment.
Severe cases of Lyme disease will acquire additional therapy to treat affected kidneys, heart, or nerves, along with supportive care like intravenous fluids. Re-checking blood work is recommended six months after completing antibiotic therapy to determine if treatment has been successful.
There is some debate within the veterinary community as to whether dogs should be treated if they test positive for Lyme disease but are asymptomatic and have a low antibody level. Your veterinarian will speak to you about different options so that you can come up with the best treatment plan for your dog.
Lyme disease can stay in your dogs body even with antibiotics. In these cases, the disease often flares up when a dogs immune system is suppressed or weakened, such as during periods of stress. The same antibiotic can be used to treat repeated recurrences of Lyme disease. Unlike other types of infections, the lingering infection is not a direct result of antibiotic resistance.
How Is The Lyme Multiplex Assay Different From The Assay My Veterinarian Can Perform
Your veterinarian can perform a quick assay in-house that checks for antibodies against only one B. burgdorferi surface protein. The in-house assay cannot detect early infection, cannot determine vaccination status, and does not quantify the amount of antibodies your animal is producing. Quantifying antibodies is an important measure for successful treatment and to confirm cure from Lyme disease.
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Whats The Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Antibiotics for Lyme disease in dogs are often required when testing shows a positive result. Typically, at least a four-week course of treatment is given. Options include doxycycline, amoxicillin and cefovecin. All are powerful antibiotics and should be given according to your veterinarians instructions. Sometimes treatment is required for longer than four weeks.
Unlike for humans, there is a Lyme vaccine for dogs. Its a preventive measure and not a cure or treatment. While some pet parents have reported a reaction to the Lyme disease vaccine in their dogs, reactions are rare and it is a great option for any dog who is at risk, especially active dogs who are frequently outdoors in high-risk areas.
Antibiotics are currently the only treatment, but they dont always get rid of the disease completely. There is no guaranteed cure for Lyme disease in dogs, and as we discussed above, your dog may display recurring symptoms that may need to be managed with other medications or remedies.
Heres The Common Symptoms:
- Your dog will become lame very quickly.
- Dog lyme disease affects the joints and causes debilitating pain. You might notice limping and notice him or her walking gingerly on the front right leg. Then you notice that your dog walking gingerly on the front left leg. Then its not the front legs anymore, but the back legs. Youre not sure what is going on. This is what the disease does. The symptoms will shift from leg to leg. It doesnt stay in one leg. This is one of the best ways to tell that it is indeed Lyme Disease.
- If a dog has chronic pain in one leg and it doesnt rotate from one leg to another, chances are it is not Lyme disease.
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Average Cost Of Treatment
In recent years, the cost of antibiotics for dogs has increased. A 2-week dose of Doxycycline or Amoxicillin can cost about $400 in some areas. Blood tests typically cost around $80, depending mainly on the methods used.
As a dog owner, you also have to pay the vet exam fee, which ranges from $40 to $50 and isnt covered by pet insurance. The cost of modern veterinary care has increased in the country. This is why you can expect high vet bills if your dog is diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Fortunately, you can use veterinary crowdfunding to help with high and/or unexpected veterinary bills.
In comparison to typical crowdfunding websites, veterinary crowdfunding provides assurances to your donors that the money raised will in fact go to the pets healthcare needs. When you decide to start a campaign for your dog, have a bit of fun with it. You get to tell your dogs story, include and awesome picture, and share your needs with the community of pet lovers out there. Get social and post your campaign to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pet lovers frequently visit these sites and you can capitalize on their big hearts by pulling at those heart strings to help your fury friend. There are a few sites that are solely dedicated to pet crowdfunding. Consider starting your campaign on a site like CoFund My Pet that is, as it may increase the looks you receive from other pet lovers.
Natural Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease in dogs is the leading tick-borne disease in the United States.
And while Lyme disease may not be common and many dogs never develop any symptoms, it is something that you need to treat if your dog starts showing signs
But if your dog does get this infection, dont run to the vet for drugs without trying these natural alternatives first.
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Lyme Disease Prevention In Dogs
Keeping your pup on tick-prevention medication is one way of keeping them safe from contracting Lyme disease.
As well, whenever you dog has been walking through areas that may serve as a hiding spot for ticks, you should check you pet’s skin and remove any ticks as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of transmitting disease.
That said, removing ticks isn’t as straightforward as you may think. Contact your vet for instruction on how to properly remove ticks from your dog. .
Remember – Lyme disease is much more severe in humans than it is in dogs! If you walk in areas with long grass or shrubs be sure to check your skin regularly for ticks. Contact your doctor for advice on removing ticks if you find one latched onto your skin. Lyme disease in humans can cause a host of painful chronic symptoms.
Note:The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Keep The Dog’s Breed In Mind
Some breeds are affected more than others by Lyme disease. These breeds or mixes of these breeds should be treated immediately if they test positive for Lyme or are suspected of having Lyme disease.
Lyme can cause serious complications and destroy the dog’s kidneys. Kidney disease and related renal complications are often found in Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs and Burmese Mountain dogs.
These dog breeds should be seen by the vet for a treatment immediately. Doxycycline or another antibiotic should be started as soon as possible.
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Lyme Disease Is Different In Dogs
Dogs and humans experience Lyme disease differently. But conventional treatment for dogs uses the human model. And that doesnt work so well.
Misdiagnosis, antibiotic-associated problems, and treatment failures are common in humans with Lyme. So this carries over to the veterinary side as well.
In some cases, antibiotics help treat severe infections. But Lyme doesnt really fit in this class.
And these drugs can actually work against disease resolution. Theres definite evidence that antibiotics
- Delay host immunity.
- Can promote a state of perpetual illness .
Understand Your Flea And Tick Repellents
Most people do not understand that their monthly flea and tick repellent, whether it be orally taken or dropped on the dog’s back, does nothing to repel ticks. It will kill the tick after it has bitten your dog, and only reduces the chance your dog will get Lyme disease.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease and tick bites on dogs is to have your dog vaccinated as well as use a monthly flea and tick repellent. The vaccine will protect your dog against the disease itself, but it requires a yearly booster.
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How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Lyme disease bacteria live in deer, mice, and other small mammals. The bacteria replicate in the wildlife, although they do not become sick. A tick will feed on the infected wildlife and pick up the bacteria. The bacteria are then transmitted to another animal the next time they feed. If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you dont have to worry about catching it directly from them. Lyme disease is caused by spirochete bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Conflict Of Interest Declaration
The authors declare that none of their collaborations influenced their work on this Consensus. Collaborative Research: Antech Laboratories , Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. , IDEXX Laboratories , Zoetis Other: AKCCHF/SCWTCA/SCWTAC GraysonJockey Club , Kindy French Foundation , Maddie’s Fund , NIH , Shipley Foundation Consultant or Sponsored CE events: Aratana , Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. , Heska , IDEXX Labs , Merck , Merial , and Zoetis
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How To Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 11,813 times.
In areas where Lyme disease is common, like the northeastern U.S., more than half of all dogs may carry the bacteria that can cause the disease. However, less than 10% of these canine carriers will ever show symptoms and require treatment. Blood tests can confirm B. burgdorferi bacteria, but its typically the appearance of symptoms like fever, stiffness, joint swelling, and loss of appetite that triggers veterinary treatment. Fortunately, when treated early, canine Lyme disease typically responds quickly to antibiotics.
Topic 1b: Geographic Distribution And Epidemiology Of Bb Infection
Prevalence estimates of LB in dogs are hindered by a lack of demonstrative clinical signs and no national surveillance system for companion animal diseases. However, screening tests for Bb antibodies are widely used, and estimated canine Bb seroprevalence data at the US state and county and Canadian province and territory levels are available based on input from commercial diagnostic laboratories through the Companion Animal Parasite Council . Lyme disease in humans has been a notifiable disease in the US for many years although not every case is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and surveillance summaries lag behind disease reporting. Underreporting of cases in humans is more likely in highly endemic areas, whereas misclassification is more likely in nonendemic areas. The same may be true for dogs. Travel history of sick or seropositive dogs is an important historical question because cases in nonendemic areas may occur after travel to or importation from endemic disease areas.
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Traditional Lyme Treatment For Dogs
The traditional treatment for lyme is to use the antibiotic Doxycycline for 30-60 days. Sometimes it works and some times it doesnt. The long term use of the antibiotics does have an effect on the gut though, so be sure to use a GOOD probiotic for your dog while using these. This is very important.
Strengthen the gut with good whole, fresh prepared food as well. Not junk kibble and canned dog foods.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
When your dog gets Lyme disease you might notice trouble walking and stiffness in their gait. This lasts a few day and keeps occurring every few weeks. It called shifting leg lameness where one or more joints in the legs of the dog are swollen. Some of the symptoms are stiffness when walking, trouble breathing, fever, lack of appetite, and swollen lymph nodes. These all all signs your dog may have been bitten by a tick and have Lyme disease.
Once the bacteria from the tick gets into the bloodstream it travels to other parts of the body. Ticks that carry this disease are found in tall grass, thick bushes, marshes, and woods. Ticks are found all years long but most active from October thru March. The tick must be attached at least 24 to 48 hours to transmit the disease.
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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.
Testing For Kidney Disease
Tests to diagnose kidney disease include complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These blood tests will determine if your pet is anemic, determine white blood cell counts, measure blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and electrolytes. A urinalysis is essential for the proper interpretation of the urea and creatinine values in the serum biochemistry profile and may also provide important clues to the possible underlying cause of kidney disease. A urinalysis will also determine the specific gravity, pH, presence of blood in the urine, and the amount of protein in the urine. An evaluation of the urine sediment will determine the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystalline material, and cellular casts all of which provide information to determine the underlying cause of kidney disease in your pet. Further diagnostic tests may be recommended based on the results of these initial screening tests.
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