How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Lyme disease is transmitted exclusively through tick bites. This means that it cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans, or from one animal to another. However, theres always a risk that a carrier tick could enter your home on your pups fur and get on family members or other pets. Dogs, cats, humans, and wildlife can all serve as carriers unknowingly allowing ticks to hitch a ride and move from outdoor locations into homes where the tick now has access to other humans or pets in the house.
If your four-legged companion is positive for Lyme disease, you and any other animals that have been in the same indoor or outdoor space might be at risk as well. If thats the case, speak to your doctor to find out if any tests are necessary.
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Prevention: Are There Lyme Disease Vaccines For Cats
Although vets diagnose Lyme disease daily in dogs, it doesn’t commonly ail cats. Because of how rarely it’s seen, there’s no vaccine available to protect our feline friends against Lyme disease. The best prevention is to protect your cat against ticks, especially during tick season.
While Lyme disease doesn’t need to top your list of worries about your kitty’s health, it’s wise to be in-the-know about this tick-transmitted bacterial disease, should your kitty ever have a run-in with it.
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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How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Tick control is extremely important for the prevention of Lyme disease . This is true for both pets and humans. Check outdoor cats daily for ticks and safely remove them as soon as possible. Be sure to pull back the fur and examine the cat at the skin level. A tick will attach itself to the animals’ skin, not its fur if it is feeding. Since ticks must feed for at least 12 hours before transmitting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, removing the tick as soon as possible can help prevent transmission. Be careful handling ticks as they are potentially infective to people too.
Products that kill ticks should also be used in at risk cats, but be sure to follow your veterinarian’s advice when using these products, because cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Keep grass and brush trimmed in your yard and remove leaf litter and other materials where ticks may hide. You can also treat your yard for ticks if you live in a high-risk area.
If The C6 Test Is Positive What Is The Next Step
A positive C6 test means antibodies to C6 were found. The next step is to do a QC6 test, which determines if the levels of antibody are high enough to justify treatment. If the value of the QC6 is higher than 30 IU/mL and signs of illness are present, then antibiotic treatment should be considered. If the QC6 is less than 30 IU/mL and there are no signs of illness, then treatment may not be necessary.
In addition to doing the QC6 test, your veterinarian may want to take samples of blood and urine to assess kidney function and to look for protein in the urine. A positive test for protein in the urine could signal serious underlying kidney disease.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Cats
Even when they are infected, many cats wont show any symptoms until the disease has caused more significant damage. This will take place usually around four weeks after the initial bite. Its important to keep an eye out for these symptoms if you suspect your cat has Lyme disease:
- Stiff and/or swollen joints or muscles
It is imperative that you take your cat to the vet immediately upon noticing symptoms.
How Did My Cat Get Ticks
Ticks wait for host animals on the tips of grasses and shrubs. When the plant is brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. This is a process known as questing. Ticks can only crawl they cannot fly or jump. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Some tick species can be active on winter days when the ground temperatures are about 32°F .
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Recognize Where Ticks Live
One of the signs of watching for ticks will happen before you even venture out with your pets. Ticks tend to live in tall grass and thick undergrowth. You will also find them in marshlands and wooded areas. Knowing the possible location of ticks allows you to be more vigilant before and after being in those areas.
Always check your pet and yourself before venturing into the woods and immediately after. Doing so will give you the best chance at finding a tick before it can cause damage. Remember to look between toes, around and inside ears, and near and under the tail.
How Can My Vet Diagnose Lyme Disease
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you suspect your pet may have Lyme disease.
During the appointment, your vet will ask a number of questions to gain a detailed understanding of your pet’s medical history, then complete a battery of tests including urine analysis, fecal exam, x-rays and blood tests. Fluid may also be drawn from your pet’s affected joints, then analyzed for signs of the disease.
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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Post
Patients typically use the term chronic Lyme disease to describe the cluster of symptoms that started after getting Lyme disease and that persist despite having received a course of antibiotic treatment which has been deemed curative by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Patients say, âIâm not cured. I have symptoms now that I never had before Lyme disease. Iâm fatigued 90% of the day. My muscles ache. My brain is in a fog. I canât think clearly any more. Iâm super sensitive to light and sound. What is going on? Chronic Lyme disease does exist â Iâm a living example of it!â
Whatever one calls it, the experience is the same. Most often these patients experience profound fatigue, pain, and/or cognitive impairment. Mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety may also accompany these symptoms, as the functional limitations can lead to social isolation, inability to work, and loss of sense of oneâs identity as a provider, caretaker, or friend. Sometimes patients find themselves identifying with Job â the just and good man in the Bible whose life was wrecked by illness, death of loved ones, and economic disaster he felt tormented by God.
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Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.
Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.
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Some Frequently Asked Questions
If I got a negative Lyme test LESS than 6 weeks after a tick bite, might I really have Lyme disease?
Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi can take 6 weeks to develop and sometimes even longer. During the first six weeks after developing symptoms, a Lyme disease test could therefore be negative.
If the first ELISA test was negative within this time frame but a person still has Lyme symptoms, the test should be repeated, as set out in the flow chart above.
If I got a negative test MORE than 6 weeks after being infected, might I really have Lyme disease?
It is possible, although less likely than in the scenario described above.
There are different possible explanations why some symptomatic patients may test negative for Lyme disease using two-tier blood testing.
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Is there a more reliable test that I could have done privately?
No, there is no type of test for Lyme disease currently proven to be more accurate than the tests used by the NHS. Some private laboratories do offer other types of tests which they claim are more reliable than the NHS tests, including modified western blot tests, ELISPOT, MELISA, and CPR tests that seek to detect the bacterial DNA.
See the question below, Why wont my NHS doctor prescribe me treatment based on my positive private Lyme disease test? for more information on this.
What is the Lyme disease ELISA test?
What is the Lyme disease western blot test?
How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease In My Cat
The key to preventing Lyme disease in your cat is tick control. Ticks can attach themselves to most animals, including humans, so even indoor cats arent completely safe. When returning from spending time outdoors, its important to do a self-check for any ticks you might have brought into the home. Youll also want to do regular checks of your cats skin during grooming to ensure there are no pesky critters attached. If your cat spends time outdoors, be sure to check daily as a tick can transmit Lyme disease in less than 24 hours after attaching to an animals skin.
Using flea and tick products is also a good way to help prevent the spread of tick-borne diseases. Speak with your veterinarian about putting your cat on a safe product to prevent the disease. At this time there is no commonly used vaccination for Lyme disease for cats.
Your veterinarian can offer excellent solutions to help with the prevention and treatment of Lyme disease. Set up an appointment as soon as possible if you believe your cat might be at risk.
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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.
Physical Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
In a perfect world, the cat will have shown some of the behavioural symptoms above before showing the physical ones, but it is a feature of Lyme disease that not all of the symptoms manifest at once, if at all. Hopefully, the vigilant owner will have noticed the cats distress and will have taken it off to the vet, but in a case where the lethargy and the rest have not shown themselves or have been missed, the cat will probably next present with a fever or swollen joints.
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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.
Detection And Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
If you suspect your cat has lyme disease, you should look for tickson the skin and see if there are any symptoms take the cat to the vet.A blood test will show if the infection is present. The red cell countwill be low.
The vet will also inspect if there are any ticks on the surface of the cats skin. These need to be removed.
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Lyme Disease And Leaky Gut Syndrome
Small intestine inflammation more commonly known as leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the spaces between the cells that line the small intestine become enlarged. This allows bacteria and food particles to enter the bloodstream triggering the immune system to respond by releasing inflammatory cytokines. The outer layer of bacteria that enters the bloodstream contains fat and a carbohydrate called lipopolysaccharide that causes the immune system to react. Food allergies, alcoholism, stress, infections , toxicants, certain medications, and mast cell activation syndrome are some of the causes of increased intestinal permeability. Paradoxically, leaky gut syndrome also leads to an increase in food allergies since food proteins pass through the inflamed small intestine into the bloodstream creating an antibody response.
Leaky gut syndrome can lead to systemic inflammation which contributes to fatigue, headaches, joint pain, ADHD, and brain fog. Research has demonstrated leaky gut syndrome can contribute to autoimmune conditions. Since many of the symptoms related to Lyme disease are caused by inflammation, successfully treating leaky gut syndrome is crucial to reducing the systemic inflammatory burden.
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Why Should I Protect Against Cat Ticks
Cat ticks are very good at passing on infections from one animal to another but dogs are much more at risk that cats. They feed by biting an animal and feasting on blood. This may take several days. Once they have had enough, they drop off.
Cat ticks transmit microbes that cause diseases, such as Lyme disease and babesiosis but its unusual for cats to catch these diseases.
If you live in an area with cat ticks, its a good idea to use a tick treatment that will kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments and collars are available and its best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.
Read the instructions very carefully as some treatments are for dogs only and can be very dangerous to cats and can even kill them. If you own a cat and a dog and you need to protect your dog against ticks, ask your vet which treatment is safe for a multipet household before treating any of your pets.
- Never use a tick treatment designed for dogs on your cat. This is extremely dangerous and could kill your cat.
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Sufferers Try Unconventional Treatments
Cashman, living in Cataract, Wisconsin was also diagnosed with Bartonella, or Cat scratch disease, and went through five years of systemic, holistic treatments, which included a host of herbs, antibiotics, a high dose of vitamin C and supplements. She also received ozone therapy and laser therapy for pain relief. She is now nearly symptom-free, but still deals with spine stiffness.
Stevens found two Lyme-literate doctors in Wisconsin who are versed in both Western and alternative medicine. She said she was co-infected with Relapsing Fever, Babesiosis and Bartonella. She said her treatments are highly individualized, and her doctors tweak her therapies from time to time. At one point, Stevens was on more than 40 types of herbs and supplements.
Im living proof that I got better as a result of all those herbal treatments, she said. I was not on antibiotics for four or five months.
Bertolasi turned to a Lyme-literate doctor who also treats one of her friends with similar symptoms. Besides Lyme, she was also diagnosed with Bartonella. She has completed a 14-month course of antibiotics. Now, besides taking herbal supplements, Bertolasi follows a strict diet excluding alcohol, dairy, gluten and sugar to reduce inflammation in her body.
She said she is at least 80% better than about a year ago. Her memory has somewhat returned. Still, brain fog waxes and wanes as does pain in her joints and lower back.
Find The Perfect Match
First, well meet with you to find out more about you and your pet preferences and answer your questions. Our goal is to help you find the pet that best fits your lifestyle and living situation so we want to make sure you have a realistic understanding of the time and resources necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for your new pet. This can take time so please allow at least one hour for the adoption process.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Humans
In humans, its extremely difficult to recognize the initial symptoms of Lyme disease. In fact, many people dismiss these signs which often include a sore throat, headaches, congestion, achy joints, etc. as symptoms of a cold or flu. Chances are, you really do have one of these common ailments. However, if you recognize any of the following signs in addition to the ones mentioned above, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner.
Head, face and neck