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LYME DISEASE (BORRELIA)
The most common tick transmitted disease in the world is Lyme disease (Ticks). Common with many other diseases, it is a bacteria which the infected tick spreads through bite. For Dogs, it is the hard shelled, slow-
Lyme disease has been recognised in Europe since the 19th century in Humans. To date, Borrelia Burgdorferi is divided into 15 genospecies.
In the USA, tissue samples taken from a white-
In Dogs, Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group which is corkscrew-
In Europe, the UK has seen a rise in Lyme disease following the relaxation of European pet travel regulations. Family pets taken on holiday within Europe are no longer required to undergo tick-
EFFECTS / SIGNS
There are several forms of Lyme disease and the signs of Lyme disease will depend largely upon the breed of dog, as some breeds are more prone to show specific signs and suffer from different ailments as a result of the same tick bite. The symptoms of Lyme disease in humans differ from those in dogs, so a sign-
Common signs are; Sensitivity to touch, breathing difficulty, arched back and stiffness when walking, lack of appetite, fever, inflammation of the joints, loss of appetite. Rare symptoms are Nervous system effects and heart abnormalities including blocks whilst Kidney disease is more prevalent in Bernese Mountain dogs and both golden and Labrador retrievers.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may cause some dogs to suffer recurrent lameness due to joint inflammation. Some dogs may however suffer acute lameness which after 3-
Some dogs will develop kidney problems which, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to glomerulonephritis, which causes inflammation and dysfunction of the kidney's blood filter (glomeruli). This will result in total kidney failure and exhibit signs such as diarrhoea and vomiting, weight loss with complete lack of appetite, severe thirst and increased urination, fluid build-
There currently exists no single diagnostic test that will show Lyme disease as bo eing the cause of the dog’s illness. There may be many causes of lameness for example and other health issue signs.
The starting point for diagnosing Lyme disease will be a thorough check of your dog’s health history and travel movements. This will allow your veterinary to narrow down possible causes of the health issue. Just as with anyone showing signs of a fever, not mentioning to the doctor that you have just returned from a Malaria prone country can lead to your death as a great many serious illnesses show flu symptoms. A test will not show what the problem is unless the test is specifically looking for that type of problem. Therefore, it is up to the dog carer, owner, parent, to let the veterinary know exactly what the dog has been doing and where you have been travelling etc.
Once a veterinary has the history, they may diagnose the possibility of Lyme disease and run a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. These tests will be used to look for the presence of bacteria, parasites, and fungi in the bloodstream. Fluid from the affected joints may also be drawn for analysis. X-
Oddly, Cats can develop Lyme disease, but even in areas considered endemic for Lyme disease they very rarely contract any signs of Lyme disease. Whilst horses have contracted Lyme disease without appearing to cause any significant problems.
If you know that your dog has been bitten by a tick, then the condition of the skin near the tick-
The very good news is that Lyme disease treatment, once diagnosed, is very simple and straightforward. The dog will not usually need to held for treatment unless there are complications or kidney problems, hence the essential need to diagnoses ASAP and prevent Lyme disease from maturing and taking a greater hold. Antibiotic treatment commonly tetracycline or penicillin based from 14 to 30 days will be prescribed. Recent studies have shown that certain dogs will not be clear of the bacterial organism at 30 days and so will need to continue for longer and until clear.
It has also been found that some dogs may never completely be clear of Borrelia burgdorferi despite antibiotic treatment, however, they may never show any further signs of the disease.
It is important to recognise the severity of the disease and treat your recovering dog accordingly by keeping them warm and dry, and keeping total control of their movements and activity until there are clear signs of an improvement. You will need to almost pamper your dog, but being declared clear of the disease has to be seen as the ultimate goal which any caring owner will recognise.
Lyme disease can be prevented. In tick endemic zones, the use of vaccination and tick control programs are essential for maintained good health. Dogs that have been infected and treated to being now clear, can become infected again and must be protected.
Some veterinarians have criticized the ineffectiveness of Lyme vaccines and do not recommend their use, which can be rather confusing for an owner. However, whilst there have been some dogs that contracted Lyme disease even after being vaccinated against it, signs are that the vaccinated dogs are still less likely to contract Lyme disease than unvaccinated dogs.
Vaccinations can be started from the age of 12 weeks and it is recommended that two doses be given three weeks apart, followed by annual boosters. Due to the risks of over-
When possible, find out if Lyme Borresliosis exists in your area. If you regularly go for days out in particular areas, check again if this particular tick is known to exist or indeed be prevalent. Do your homework for regularly visited areas, especially if you are going to let your dog run free or even if on the lead, moving through vegetation and nature.
Using insecticides on the dog that repel ticks is another method. In recent years the use of topical insecticides, often applied to the back or nape of the dog, will last an entire month for effective protection. Certain brands can only be used under a veterinarian’s supervision, however, whether you seek the advice of a paid-
TICK CONTROL is probably the best way of preventing Lyme disease. It must not be forgotten that ticks carry a wide range of diseases, therefore checking your dog for ticks will help prevent more than solely Lyme disease. For those that consider financial means as the main reasons for not visiting a veterinarian, checking your dog for ticks as a regular act, essentially after visiting the great outdoors, will save a great amount in funds and indeed in your dog suffering.
In 2013, the UK launched its first Lyme disease vaccine, for which we have no details as yet.