Prevention Of Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is often based on the signs and history. For example, a veterinarian might suspect Lyme disease in a dog with recent lameness, a mild fever, and a history that includes possible exposure to ticks. Standard blood studies are not very helpful in diagnosis because the results tend to fall within normal ranges despite signs of infection. However, these tests may be important in order to rule out other causes of disease. Antibodies against the disease-causing bacteria can often be detected 4 to 6 weeks after the initial infection and help confirm the diagnosis.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Been Exposed To Lymes Disease
Dear Dr. Hershey,
My vet just told me that my dog, Harper, just tested positive for Lymes Disease. He seems to be normal otherwise, what does this mean for him, and is it contagious to me?
Dear Mary Beth,
This is a timely question because the ticks are out in Minnesota. Ticks live for many years, and can survive the winter in a dormant stage.
Ticks become active when the ground temperature is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so sometimes ticks will be out even if there is snow on the ground. Because ticks become active even when it is relatively cold outside, many pet owners are caught by surprise in the early spring when they find a tick on their dog.
Ticks find their hosts by detecting breath and body odors, or by sensing heat, moisture, vibrations, even shadows. Ticks cant jump or fly, but they are well adapted to finding and latching onto hosts.
Ticks will rest on the tips of grasses or shrubs in a position known as questing. In this position, they hold onto the plant with some of its legs, while having their first pair of legs outstretched, just waiting for a host to brush by. Although Minnesota is home to several types of tick, it is the black-legged tick , commonly known as the deer tick, which can transmit Lyme Disease .
Unlike people, we think that only 5 to 10 percent of all dogs exposed to Lyme bacteria ever get sick with the disease.
Veterinarians will routinely screen for exposure to Lyme bacteria.
How Do Dogs Get Lyme Disease
Like humans, dogs can contract Lyme disease from ticks, specifically the deer tick, which carry the bacteria that causes the disease. The American Kennel Club notes that the ticks most likely to carry Lyme disease are typically found in forests and woods , marshes, tall grass, and areas with thick brush. In terms of geographical locations, ticks carrying Lyme have been expanding their reach across the United States in recent years, but are most prevalent in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest regions.
Dr. Sarah Wooten, veterinarian and American Society of Veterinary Journalists member, tells Pumpkin, When your dog spends time in the woods, marshes, grass, or bushy areas without adequate tick protection on board, these monstrous little bugs can latch on and bite. Those bites can transmit bacteria into your dogs bloodstream that cause Lyme disease, and thats when we have a real problem.
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What Should I Do If I Suspect My Dog May Have Lyme Disease
What should I do if I suspect my dog may have Lyme disease?
If your dog is showing symptoms of Lyme disease, contact your veterinarian or the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 509-335-0711.
This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. Washington State University assumes no liability for injury to you or your pet incurred by following these descriptions or procedures.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed In Dogs
A diagnosis of Lyme disease is usually made based upon a history of being in an endemic area, signs of arthritis, and favorable response to treatment.
A blood test can measure antibodies to the bacteria, but many dogs that live in endemic regions will have a positive result. A positive only confirms the dog was exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi, but not all exposed dogs show signs of disease.
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Preventing Lyme Disease In Dogs
Whenever your dog has been walking through areas where ticks may hide, its a good idea to check your pet for ticks once you arrive home. Removing ticks isnt as simple as you might think. If you spot a tick on your pooch, contact your veterinarian for instructions on how to safely remove the tick from your dogs skin.
We also recommend checking your own body for ticks. Lyme disease is much more severe in humans than in dogs. If you discover a tick has latched onto your skin, contact your doctor for advice on removing the tick.
Its important to note that your dog does not pose a risk to you or your family however you are at risk if you spend time in the same outdoor environment as your dog and are around infected ticks.
Also, keep up on tick prevention and parasite prevention year-round, and speak with your vet about vaccinating your dog against Lyme. Avoid brushing against shrubs or walking through long grass while on walks, and check your dog every day for ticks.
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.
How Does Lyme Disease Affect Dogs
Humans infected with Lyme disease often develop a bulls-eye rash, but this is not typically observed in infected dogs. Lyme disease targets the joints, causing chronic arthritis. The most common clinical sign in dogs is sudden lameness, but other symptoms may also be observed:
Severe cases may progress to kidney failure and death.
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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.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease
The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”
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Tick Borne Diseases In Dogs: How To Spot And Prevent These Potentially Dangerous Diseases
Many people think that ticks can only affect humans, but, in fact, dogs are more commonly used as a host than humans. Not only can ticks be shocking and disturbing to find feeding on your pet, but they can also pass serious diseases.
Here at Prairie View Animal Hospital we use the 4dx test to screen our dogs annually for an immune respose to three common tick-bourne diseases, lyme, ehrlichia, and anaplasma. Unfortunately, all three diseases have been diagnosed in patients in our hospital just this year.
Is My Dog At Risk Of Canine Lyme Disease
The short answer is a resounding yes. If you walk your dog in one of Torontos many wonderful series of wooded trail systems, you and your dog are susceptible. Canine Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Toronto area, initiated by the bite of infected, Ixode scapularis, also known as Deer or Blacklegged ticks. While not all variations of ticks carry Lyme disease, populations of Blacklegged, Deer and American Dog ticks continue to expand in the GTA and other parts of Ontario.
Canine Lyme Disease Risk Assessment:
If you answered YES to any of these questions, protection against disease-carrying ticks a small, chewy and tasty treat for your dog is recommended.
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Reducing Future Lyme Disease Risks
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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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.
Can I Get Lyme Disease From My Pet
If your pet has been diagnosed with Lyme disease you are not at risk of becoming infected directly from your animal. The bacteria increase to high levels in the blood of wildlife, but humans and domestic animals develop only low levels of the bacteria in their blood and at not high enough to infect a feeding tick.
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Can Dogs Die From Lyme Disease
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Some of these diseases can be fatal. Fortunately, dogs can be vaccinated against the bacterium that causes lyme disease. (Even during the pandemic, many veterinarians are open for treatments
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Once ill, dogs can become feverish and lame in one or more joints. They also may exhibit sluggishness, and their lymph nodes may swell. A more serious form of
How Is Lyme Disease Treated In Dogs
Breathe easy: if caught in time, Lyme disease can be easily treated in dogs. The treatment includes antibiotics for a duration of usually for at least 30 days, as well as supportive medication if needed, Dr. Muller tells us. In order of use, those antibiotics are typically doxycycline, amoxicillin, followed by azithromycin. At times, dogs may need longer durations or more rounds of antibiotic treatments. Depending on how long they were ill, your pooch may also need therapy and treatments for individual organs or systems that have been affected by Lyme, especially the heart, nerves, joints, and kidneys.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Transmitted From Pet To Pet
Lyme disease is seen in dogs, cats, and humans but thankfully, no, Lyme disease is not contagious, as it can only be transmitted via a tick bite. However, if one of your dogs or cats develops it, youll want to get all of your pets checked for the illness, as they may all be at risk of exposure to the ticks that infected your sick fur baby. You may even want to get yourself checked as well, as people are usually in the same places as their pets.
Kidney Damage Caused By Lyme Disease
More serious complications, although uncommon, include:
Damage to the kidneys
Rarely, heart or nervous system disease 1,2
Lyme disease sometimes leads to glomerulonephritisthe inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney’s glomeruli .
Eventually, kidney failure may set in as the dog begins to exhibit signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid buildups that can appear as swollen limbs.
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What Does The Lyme Multiplex Assay Measure
The Lyme Multiplex assay quantifies antibodies directed against specific proteins on the surface of B. burgdorferi at three different stages of the bacterial life cycle. This antibody profile can indicate whether an animal has been recently infected or is chronically infected with B. burgdorferi. It can also be used to monitor protective antibodies after vaccination.
Lyme Disease Treatment For Dogs
Fortunately, treatment of most cases of canine Lyme disease is very simple: a three- to four-week course of antibiotics. Even if the dog has had signs of disease for quite some time, she should respond very quickly, within the first 48 hours of starting antibiotic therapy, and recovery will in the great majority of cases be complete. There will generally be no residual effects of the illness.
The one Lyme-related situation for which administration of antibiotics wont work is if the infection is associated with kidney damage . It isnt certain that the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are what cause the kidney syndrome. It may be a different pathogen transmitted with tick bites. But in very rare cases, a dog will die from kidney complications having to do with a tick borne infection. Dr. Stone at Tufts is one of the veterinarians conducting research into the problem and how to treat it successfully. Specifically, he is investigating a different bacteria associated with tick bites, Babesia microti, as the possible cause of Lyme nephritis. According to Dr. Stone, the association of kidney failure and Lyme disease is incompletely understood, and much more work needs to be done.
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