Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Because Lyme disease may not cause any obvious clinical signs but can still be fatal, its important to test your dog every year for Lyme disease if you live in an endemic area, and 4-6 weeks after a known tick bite . Most testing is done based on clinical signs or history.
In the clinic, your vet will test for the presence of antibodies to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. This is just a quick positive-or-negative snap test. If the result is positive, this means antibodies are present, and your vet may send a more specific test to the lab to determine the approximate number of antibodies. A high number indicates an active infection is likely, whereas a low number may indicate that your dog was previously exposed . Some dogs may retain antibodies to tick-borne bacteria for several years after being exposed.
Summary Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is transmitted via tick bites, and can cause lameness, swollen joints and even kidney failure. While it can be treated if the case is not too severe, prevention is best. The best way to prevent an infection is to reduce your dogs exposure to ticks and stay up-to-date on monthly preventatives and Lyme vaccinations.
An Estimated 10 To 15 Percent Of People With Lyme Disease Have Symptoms That Persist After Treatment
Some people with Lyme disease often return to health after being diagnosed and treated, while others still have persistent symptoms, says Soloski. It can be really debilitating this vaccine will really benefit those folks, he says.
Its estimated that about 10 to 15 percent of people who have Lyme disease have post-treatment Lyme disease , according to John Hopkins Medicine. These individuals can have cognitive issues, sleep issues, vision issues, brain fog, pain and fatigue. If we can stop the infection from occurring at all, that would be a really good thing then you wont be one of these individuals, says Soloski.
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Does My Dog Need A Lyme Disease Vaccine
Unfortunately, the answer isnât straight forward. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine states that Lyme disease vaccines are not considered part of the core group of vaccines necessary for all dogs. Lyme disease vaccine is primarily recommended for dogs that live or frequently visit areas known for Lyme disease as well as for those living in areas with high potential for tick exposure.
Vaccinating for Lyme disease in sick dogs or those who have urinary protein issues is not recommended. Veterinarians and researchers also debate whether vaccinating a dog that already has Lyme disease is necessary. Some say it will help prevent the dog from becoming infected again, while others worry that the vaccine could cause a serious reaction, making the dog even sicker.
My Stupidity Led To Scouts Screaming Pain
When I returned from my errand and parked my car in our stone drive, I received my first warning that all was not right with the world. The girls know the sound of my wheels crunching the surface, and they have never, ever failed to bark a particular greeting.
That afternoon, though, I heard silence. Because I immediately jump to my family is dead in any even marginally unusual circumstance, my panic started before I opened the car door. If they werent barking, they were kidnapped or worse.
I rushed up the walk and could see Phoebe on her hind legs, her little face peering out the windowpane. That part was normal. What wasnt normal was her panicked look and the silence. I fumbled to open the door, my fear rising when Scout still didnt appear. I rounded the corner and felt initial relief when I saw her, standing in the hall.
But her back was arched and her entire body shook uncontrollably. Dropping to the ground, I reached to scoop her up, and she screamed. Scout doesnt scream. Shes a tough little pup and not prone to dramatics.
It didnt take long to determine the source of her pain. I placed her gently on the floor, but her back left leg, where shed received her injection, just hung there, unused. When I attempted touching it, she cried. We called our vets office, and they said some small dogs do have these reactions.
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Lyme Vaccine For Small Dogs: What To Know Before The Appointment
Fifteen Minute Read
We get it. Everyones pretty tired of talking about vaccines, at least when it comes to COVID. But bear with us, because this discussion is important too. Its the story of our small dog Scout and the extreme pain and temporary lameness she suffered after her Lyme vaccination for dogs.
And were not alone in nursing our Havanese through an adverse vaccine reaction. So many other small dogs have suffered similar reactions from the Lyme vaccine. And last year, we learned, too late, that small dogs are more likely to have adverse vaccine reactions. Were pretty upset with ourselves for having gone ahead with Lyme vaccinations, when for years we resisted doing so even though we live in an area where disease-carrying ticks are common.
The Lyme vaccine for dogs is actually pretty controversial, with few veterinarians recommending it wholeheartedly.
Dont make the mistake we did. We assumed this long-time vaccine was now widely accepted and that giving it was the right thing to do.
Were not saying dont vaccinate for Lyme. We are saying know the many downsides, give the vaccine only if you absolutely must, and be prepared to support your dog if she experiences an adverse reaction.
Before we delve into the side effects of Lyme vaccine for small dogs, lets talk briefly about the disease itself.
Lyme Vaccine For Dogs: Side Effects
Vaccinations trigger a response from the immune system. Therefore, mild side effects are normal and expected. Expected effects may include a mild fever, lethargy, soreness at the site of the vaccine, and decreased appetite. Just like when you get a flu shot, your dogs response to a vaccine may result in mild, short-lived signs of illness.
Occasionally, more serious reactions occur. Although severe vaccine reactions are rare, they require quick action. These reactions indicate an allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine.
Signs of an allergic reaction to Lyme vaccination include:
|Merial Animal Health||Recombitek® Lyme|
While there are slight differences in how these vaccines are produced and their mechanisms of action, all five are comparable in safety and efficacy.
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Recap: Six Reasons To Avoid The Lyme Vaccine For Small Dogs
We encourage you to read Vogt and Stevens well-researched 2021 opinion piece Why the Rationale for Canine Borrelia burgdorferi Vaccination Is Unpersuasive in Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine. They set forth clear reasons why neither vets nor pet parents should consider vaccinating their small dogs against Lyme disease:
- the vast majority of dogs do not suffer Lyme symptoms even if they contract the disease
- effective treatments against Lyme are readily available
- we possess effective means of preventing infection by adopting appropriate tick bite prevention strategies
- appropriate prevention methods can prevent tick bites altogether
- experts argue the vaccine has not undergone adequate testing for effectiveness and requires annual vaccine administrations
- studies reveal the vaccine is more likely than any other to produce adverse reactions.
- the vaccine does not protect public health, as Lyme is not spread from dog to dog or dog to person.
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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Why You Shouldnt Over
Vaccinating your dog more often than necessary can be very dangerous for him. All vaccines have potential adverse reactions. These can range from fairly mild reactions like lethargy or soreness, to really severe ones like anaphylactic shock, autoimmune diseases and even death. The vaccine can also cause the disease its intended to prevent!
When your dog is protected by the vaccines hes already had, vaccinating him again does not make him more immune.
Vaccines also contain other ingredients that are potentially harmful for your dog.
Should You Get The Lyme Vaccine For Your Dog
I cant tell you what to do although there are a lot of folks who try to
If you visit the Pets & Parasites website, youll see some pretty scary things like this
The folks at Pets & Parasites arent the most creative bunch, because here was their 2017 forecast
And their 2016 forecast
Pets & Parasites deliver the same message every year and just change the date. How can Lyme disease be that scary when most dogs will never get sick? Even when they test positive for Lyme.
Why all the fuss about Lyme if it doesnt really affect dogs? Companion Animal Parasite Council publishes The Pets & Parasites website. And this council is sponsored by companies who make tick products they want you to buy.
You might think Im biased when it comes to vaccines and that would be true but Im nowhere near as biased as the huge corporations that make billions of dollars off dogs and cats each year! And dont think theyll share my little secret that 95% of dogs with Lyme disease will NEVER develop any symptoms theres no money in that message.
But they will try to scare you and your vet every year, so youll run out and get their spot ons and vaccines.
But now I hope you know better than to get caught up in the propaganda.
So, will you vaccinate your dog for Lyme this year?
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What Is The Best Way To Prevent Canine Lyme Disease
- Prevent ticks from transmitting disease with one of our veterinary-approved flea and tick medications.
- Get your dog vaccinated.
- Inspect your dog for ticks after walks through wooded trails. Check your dog under their collar, under their tail, between their toes, under their legs and elbows.
- Remove ticks immediately. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will be infected. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers and learn the proper method of tick removal.
- At your next vet visit, ask our veterinarian to conduct a tick check during the exam. Well be able to find any you may have missed.
- Keep your grass mowed and refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs: What Your Vet Isnt Telling You
Lyme disease the mere thought of it is terrifying to pet owners everywhere. Rashes, lameness, swollen joints these are all symptoms that you never want your dog to experience.
The good news is, the situation isnt as scary as you may have thought.
Before we look at why, lets take a look at how dogs get Lyme disease in the first place.
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Be A Responsible Dog Parent Everyday
A new survey from animal health company Elanco found that 69% of dog owners have no idea of leptospirosis is prevalent in their area, and 36% do not know if Lyme is prevalent in their area.
We invite you to visit WagStats.com for more detailed information they gathered via an online survey from 3,000 U.S. pet owners.
Vaccinated Pets Have More Fun!
Vaccination And Disease Prevention
Several vaccines are available to help prevent disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease organism. An initial vaccination is followed by a booster vaccine 2 to 4 weeks later and annual boosters as long as the risk for disease exposure remains. Depending on your dogs age and other variables, your veterinarian may recommend testing your dog for Lyme disease before starting the vaccine series.
The Lyme vaccine is not necessarily recommended for all dogs. Ask your veterinarian about the risk of Lyme disease where you live and whether the Lyme vaccine is recommended for your dog.
There are currently no vaccines to protect dogs from other tick-borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. Appropriate tick control methods combined with periodic testing may be the best ways to help protect dogs from these diseases. Being tick savvy can also help protect your dog from Lyme disease exposure:
- Check your dog frequently for ticks, and remove them promptly.
- Use a reliable method of tick control .
- If possible, avoid tall grass or wooded areas where ticks are likely to hide.
- If you routinely take your dog camping or walking in wooded areas, ask your veterinarian about the best ways to control ticks.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
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Is The Lyme Vaccine For Dogs Safe
The canine Lyme vaccination does not protect against anything but Lyme. Stone does say that if requested he will administer the vaccine and feels that safety is not an issue. The incidence of side effects are less than 2%, and when present they are basic injection site reactions. In a nutshell, Stone believes that protecting your pets from ticks in heavily infected areas is much more important than a vaccine.
First Do No Harm: Lyme Disease Vaccination May Present More Risks Than Benefits
Meryl P. Littman, VMD, Diplomate ACVIM
When veterinary clinicians decide whether to recommend a particular vaccine for a particular patient, risks and benefits are weighed. The vaccinometer tool, developed by Larry Glickman, was designed to help practitioners determine whether or not to recommend a vaccine.1
As we investigate Lyme disease vaccination, the questions posed by the vaccinometer help highlight many unanswered questions and potential risks related to this vaccine. With these concerns in mind, I choose first do no harm. In other words, if we use proper tick control, vaccination is unnecessary.
Question:What is the prevalence and risk of exposure/infection in your area ?
Answer: Risk of Lyme disease exposure/infection is high in my area, but proper tick control lowers the risk greatly.
The CDC website2 shows that 95% of human Lyme disease is found in 12 endemic states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper Midwest U.S. In some endemic areas, seroprevalence in healthy dogs is as high as 70% to 90%.3 In high-risk areas, risk of exposure can be lowered dramatically with adequate tick control, which also decreases the risk for other tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Question:How great is the risk of severe disease once the dog is infected ?
Answer:Risk of Lyme disease becoming severe is low, but possibly somewhat higher in retriever dogs.
Question:How effective is the vaccine?
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Are There Any Chronic Long
Untreated Lyme disease infections can cause permanent damage to your dogs joints, including chronic inflammation and arthritis. This is obviously painful for your dog.
The scariest potential long-term effect of Lyme disease is Lyme nephritis. In dogs with Lyme nephritis, the Lyme-causing bacteria settle in the kidneys, causing damage and eventually kidney failure. This condition is usually fatal, and we dont know why some dogs develop it while others do not. Thankfully Lyme nephritis is fairly uncommon, but Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and mixes with these breeds in their heritage like Labradoodles and goldendoodles are at an increased risk.
Signs of Lyme nephritis include:
Elevated creatinine and BUN on bloodwork
If your dog has tested positive for Lyme, especially if he is a Lab, golden, or mix of one of these breeds, you should have his urine checked regularly for protein.
More rarely, untreated Lyme disease can also cause neurological signs such as seizures and poor balance and cardiac signs such as arrhythmias or heart failure.
Lyme Vaccine For Dogs
- USDA approved?Yes
- Life stage:All
Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is found on multiple continents, including North America, Europe, and Asia. Within the U.S., Lyme disease was first observed in the Northeast and remains most common in that area however, it is now found across much of the country.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection diagnosed in dogs in the United States. In 2019, 5 percent of canine blood samples sent to a reference laboratory for Lyme disease testing were positive for infection .
Clinical signs of Lyme disease vary significantly. In many dogs, Lyme disease is completely asymptomatic. These dogs show no signs of illness. Approximately 10 percent of infected dogs, however, develop clinical signs of Lyme disease several months after being bit by an infected tick . Common clinical signs of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, lethargy, and limping. Dogs with mild signs can typically be treated successfully with antibiotics. A small percentage of infected dogs go on to develop a serious kidney disease, known as Lyme nephritis, which can be fatal despite treatment.
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What Is The Lyme Disease Vaccine
Although the syndrome now known as Lyme disease was first identified in human patients in 1975, Borrelia burgdorferi was not identified until 1981. The first canine Lyme vaccine was introduced in 1992 .
The Lyme vaccine for dogs is available at most veterinary clinics, especially in areas where Lyme disease poses a significant threat. Even in low-risk areas, many veterinarians carry this vaccine in order to protect dogs traveling to Lyme-endemic areas. If your veterinarian does not carry this vaccine, they may be able to obtain it for you or direct you to another clinic where you can receive it.
This vaccine does not require a specialist visit and can often be administered with your dogs other vaccinations at a routine wellness visit.