Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an elusive tick-borne illness that is controversial not only in the pet world, but human world.  For years, people have complained of a variety of illnesses, chronic fatigue, joint pain, fevers, rashes, and neurological affects from tick-borne diseases that have been pretty much ignored or even downright scoffed at by the medical profession.

The old-school treatment of a round of antibiotics cures everything hasn't rid those with Lyme issues, despite what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governmental agencies claim.  The tests used to detect it are insufficient, constantly inaccurate, and not a good indicator of the disease.

There are good tests for tick-borne diseases OTHER than Lyme, but the Lyme diagnosis continues to elude vets and physicians.  There isn't even consensus on whether Lyme is a disease all its own, or if there are variations of the Lyme disease, or even whether Lyme is a "thing" at all.

I don't have Lyme, none of my dogs have had it (although one did have Ehrlichiosis and was successfully treated with antibiotics, but that isn't Lyme), so I err on the side of those humans and animals that have suffered with the disease and know the pain and suffering it does cause.

What can you do?  If you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately.  Here is a link to the CDC on how to remove a tick.  How to Remove a Tick.  Save the tick and have it sent in for testing to see if it is infected with Lyme or any other tick-borne disease.

Mark the spot on your dog and keep an eye out for a rash (the "bullseye" rash is NOT an indicator as once believed), lameness, pain, lethargy, lack of appetite.  If your dog isn't acting right, take them to the vet for testing.  Remember, the test isn't accurate, so if you believe that the negative test is wrong, FIGHT for treatment for your dog.  You are your dog's advocate, you speak for them.  Get them the treatment you feel is right.  Do your research (both human and canine treatments should be similar) and talk to your vet about what you think is right for your dog.  Get a second opinion from a specialist if you feel that your vet isn't listening to your concerns.

Working dog resource

PetMD Article on Lyme

Washington State University Article on Lyme

University of Rhode Island Tick identification chart

What's it like to live with Lyme Disease?  Please go read my friend Julie's blog about that very subject, and also learn about the treatments, research, and everything you ever need to know about human Lyme, that may help you if you ever find yourself in that situation, or any of your pets.