The Symptoms Aren’t Necessarily What You’d Expect
Without question, the most well-known symptom of Lyme disease in humans is the distinctive, circular bull’s-eye rash that many patients develop between a week and a month after they’re bitten.
“That rash is great if someone recognizes that because if they get treatment at that point, they will probably not ever get a systemic infection and won’t get sick,” Goldstein explains. “We don’t see that rash in dogs. That’s a huge difference. In dogs, the first clinical signs that we see are the pain, fever and lameness, which happen in people only months after the rash.”
That means that by the time you spot symptoms of a tick bite on your dog, he or she will likely already be infected.
The other less-than-ideal aspect of canine Lyme symptoms is that they can easily masquerade as something else. One of the most common symptoms dogs exhibit, for example, is joint pain. So, if your pet is suddenly limping, you might simply assume that they’ve injured their paw or overworked their knee at the park. In reality, however, they could be suffering from Lyme.
One helpful pro tip that can help you differentiate the two is to take note of whether or not your pet’s joint pain shifts around. If your dog is consistently lifting the same leg, he’s likely just injured it. If, on the other hand, he lifts his front right leg one day and his left hind leg the next, he may have contracted Lyme.
What Is Lyme Disease How Does My Dog Get Infected
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Borrelia. The bacteria are most commonly carried by the deer tick . Infection occurs when a dog is bitten by an infected tick. It appears that the disease is not transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. The tick itself becomes infected by feeding on infected mice, birds, deer, and other animals.
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Is It Possible For Dogs To Be Reinfected
Since Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, its possible for a dog to re-contract Lyme disease from another infected tick after being treated for it for a previous infection. Even if a dog has contracted Lyme disease in the past, this does not protect them from being infected in the future. This is why preventing infected ticks from biting your dog is so important.
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Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
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.
Which Antibodies Does The Vaccine From Merial Induce
It is a recombinant vaccine based on Osp A. Vaccinated animals should develop high antibody levels to OspA and maintain negative antibody levels to the remaining two antigens. Infected/non-infected animals can be identified based on OspC and OspF antibody values. Detection of the early Lyme infection stage is possible after using this vaccine.
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Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
If your dog has a positive Lyme test but no symptoms of the disease or protein in the urine, ask your veterinarian why he or she is recommending treatment. Experts currently recommend against antibiotic therapy under these circumstances because the dogs immune system is holding the bacteria in check and antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection.
Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease do not develop prolonged, protective immunity and can be reinfected at a later date. Talk to your veterinarian about how best to prevent future infections. Options include measures to prevent the ticks that carry Lyme disease from biting your dog and Lyme vaccination.
What Are Some Potential Health Complications Of Untreated Canine Lyme Disease
Untreated Lyme disease in dogs can lead to health complications in your pets critical organs, including permanent damage to your pets kidneys, heart or nervous system. According to veterinary experts, kidney damage is the most common complication of untreated Lyme disease and is often fatal for dogs suffering from this complication.
In some cases, dogs may also experience nervous system disorders such as seizures or facial paralysis. The severity of these complications can vary and may not be life-threatening but could affect your pets quality of life.
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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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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:
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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.
Where Do Ticks Live And How Do They Get On Dogs
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods especially where deer populations are high. Ticks do not jump but only crawl and in seeking a host, will latch onto your dog when they pass by.
Lyme disease was named after a high number of cases that occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, but cases in dogs have been reported in every state in the United States. However, Lyme disease is more common in some geographical locations specifically, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and northern Pacific coast. Dog owners who live or spend time in these areas should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the preventative measures available.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs: Diagnosis To Treatment
Ticks are most active when warm weather hits, but in many parts of the country they can be a year-round nuisance. These tiny parasites are known for carrying diseases, including ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and other afflictions that can cause fevers and other symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening. One of the most well-known and common of these is Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a risk for any dog who lives in areas where there are ticks in the environment, but exposure can be particularly concerning for pups that spend time doing outdoor activities like hiking, camping or playing with toys in the yard. Keep in mind, however, that even dogs who spend most of their time indoors can contract this disease. Every pet parent should know the signs of Lyme disease in dogs and how to prevent and treat it.
Where Are Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease Found
Though Lyme disease occurs in every state, risk of infection varies. The vast majority of cases are from the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and the Pacific case, though recent changes in deforestation, and migrating bird and deer populations have impacted these statistics. Ticks are most often found in farm fields, wooded areas, shrubs and long grass.
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What Do You Do If You See A Tick On Your Dog
If you spot one of these pesky buggers on your pup, you should remove it ASAP. âVery carefully, go under the head of the tick with tweezers and just pull out the mouth of the tick, which is embedded in the skin,â instructs Dr. Brian Fallon, who directs the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research at Columbia University Medical Center. To avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area:
Use fine-point tweezers.
Pull straight upward, in a slow and steady motion, to prevent the tickâs mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in your dogâs skin.
Donât squeeze the tickâs body which will transfer possible infection into the skin.
If you are unable to remove the tick yourself, consult with your veterinarian.
How To Remove Ticks From Your Dog
When removinga tick from a dog be sure to grasp the tick by the head and pullfirmly straight from the dog. Dispose of the tick in a clear sealedcontainer and save the tick in case it needs to be tested for Lyme orother tick borne diseases. There are inexpensive tick removal toolssuch as a TickedOff that can be used to quickly and easily remove ticks.
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How Do You Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs
To prevent Lyme disease in dogs, try to avoid tick-infested areas, especially during peak season. When you come in from the outdoors, check your dogâs body and carefully remove any ticks with tweezers.
Year-round tick control helps in prevention. You can also ask your vet about tick-preventive products. These products kill ticks on your dogâs body before they have a chance to spread an infection. Vaccines can also help prevent Lyme disease in dogs, but vets warn against them unless you live in an area that is prone to ticks.
How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
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Should I Have My Dog Tested
Antibodies can take weeks to develop. Because of this, tests for Lyme disease that are performed before the antibodies have evolved may show up as negative even if your dog is infected. If your dog is infected and is retested four to six weeks later, they should have a positive test. If you do decide to have your dog tested, you should also keep in mind that just because they test positive for antibodies does not automatically mean they have the disease. This simply means that at some point in their life they were exposed and their body mounted a response. In many cases, this makes it difficult to determine the importance of positive test results because unfortunately, there aren’t reliable tests that can identify the presence of the infecting bacteria in your dogs body.Whether or not they should be cause for concern depends on many factors, including whether or not your vet feels your dog is showing symptoms that may be consistent with lyme disease. Ultimately, you should rely on your veterinarian to decide whether or not testing for lyme disease is appropriate and should your dog test positive, what should be done with that information.
If you’re concerned about how long the testing process takes and how it may affect you or your family, keep in mind that humans cannot contract Lyme disease from an infected dog. The Ixodes tick is the primary means of transmission in people, as well as dogs.
Yikes You Found A Tick On Your Dog How Can You Remove It
The biggest key here is to be verycareful and veryquick, 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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Can We Test Fluids Other Than Serum
Yes, CSF samples can be submitted from horses with neurological signs. The CSF sample needs to be submitted together with a serum sample from the same animal and taken at the same time. The relative increase of antibodies in CSF can indicate local production of antibodies in the CNS. Typically, one or two antibody values are increased more than 2-fold if B. burgdorferi contributes to the neurologic condition.
For other samples, contact the lab first .
Lyme Disease From Adult Ticks
Adult ticks will seek new hosts throughout the fall. Their peak activity is between late October and early November.
Adults prefer taller vegetation. Theyre usually seen 3 feet off the ground on high grasses or leaves. Adults often use deer as hosts but theyre also happy with humans, dogs or horses.
Its believed that 50% of adult ticks carry Lyme disease in endemic areas of the Northeast. But, while adult ticks can carry Lyme disease, theyre less likely to pass it on to their host. This is because theyre larger and easier to detect within the first 24 to 36 hours.
Note: the timing of peak activity for each life stage of the tick may differ depending on your area. Check with local health departments for peak tick activity where you live.
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Video Answer: Red Flags Associated With Tick Bites
Dog ticks can also carry disease, but not Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacteria that spreads when an infected tick encounters your blood stream. There are a variety of symptoms with Lyme disease. It can begin with a rash and flu-like symptoms.
In the past, it may have been difficult for dogs to survive Lyme disease due to the inability to diagnose the disease.
If your dog does contract Lyme disease, however, they are likely to exhibit the symptoms listed above.
These symptoms are caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium in the bite of an infected tick.
Lyme disease in dogs is curable, however, this may depend on each case and at what stage of the disease the dog receives treatment during.
Most dogs that are diagnosed with Lyme disease will be given a prescription of doxycycline, which is the most common type of antibiotic used to treat this condition.
Antibiotics generally provide relief from Lyme disease, but relapses can occur.
Spot-on tick-control products can kill or repel ticks that carry Lyme disease, as can some tick collars.
There is a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, but it’s not always part of a dog’s routine vaccination protocol.