New Study Shows Link Between Ticks And Kidney Disease
Tick encounters are increasingly hard to avoid. These adaptable parasites are responsible for spreading a variety of diseases throughout the United States, and their range is increasing. To protect our pets and ourselves, its critical to stay alert to the risks. That means regularly screening petswhether symptomatic or seemingly healthyto identify exposure to infected ticks.
A single tick can transmit multiple infectious agents that can lead to higher risk of serious illness. An infection from a tick can lead to health issues, including chronic conditions affecting a variety of body systems . These complications can be hard to diagnose if we dont understand that a dog has been exposed to an infected tick. Because dogs cant explain how they feel and may not always show clinical signs, it can be challenging to understand the true harm of any given infection to a patients health. This is why its so important for all dogs to be screened annually for exposure to ticks, as recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council, an independent group of leading parasitologists.
Learn more at idexx.com/ckdstudy.
Are There Tests For Lyme Disease
Several different blood tests are used when diagnosing Lyme disease. None of the tests are definitive, as they only measure whether or not a dog has been exposed to the bacteria; they are unable to say for sure whether Lyme disease is the cause of any symptoms or whether it will cause symptoms in the future. In areas with high concentrations of ticks, 75% or more of dogs can test positive for the disease, though only 5% of those dogs may ever be symptomatic.
Blood tests may also show false positives in dogs that have received certain Lyme disease vaccines. Occasionally, testing may produce a false negative result, particularly if a Lyme-carrying tick bit the dog within the past four weeks. The bacteria require about four weeks of incubation before it accumulates in detectable levels.
How Do You Remove Ticks From Your Dog
Regardless of which tick prevention method you use, its good practice to check your dog thoroughly for ticks each time it comes inside. Make sure to check sensitive areas like the insides of the ears, the armpits, and the anus.
If you see a tick, dont try to pull it off with your fingers; doing so could crush the tick, causing it to spit and release the Lyme bacteria. Use tweezers or a specialized tick removal tool to dislodge the tick from your dog safely. If you spot a tick in a difficult to reach area, such as deep inside the ear, go to a vet to have the tick removed.
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How Can I Help Prevent Lyme Disease In A Child
There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. A child who has had the disease doesnt build up immunity and can get it again. But you can help prevent Lyme disease by protecting your child from tick bites.
Ticks cant bite through clothing, so dress your child and family in:
- Long-sleeved shirts tucked into pants
- Socks and closed-toe shoes
- Long pants with legs tucked into socks
Choose light-colored clothing so that ticks can be easily seen. Check your child often for ticks, including:
- Behind the knees, between fingers and toes, in underarms, and in the groin
- In the belly button
- In and behind the ears, on the neck, in the hairline, and on top of the head
- Where underwear elastic touches the skin
- Where bands from pants or skirts touch the skin
- Anywhere else clothing presses on the skin
- All other areas of the body and hair
Run fingers gently over the skin. Run a fine-toothed comb through your child’s hair to check for ticks.
Other helpful tips include:
- When possible, use cleared or paved paths when walking through wooded areas and fields.
- Shower after outdoor activities are done for the day. It may take up to 4 to 6 hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin. Showering may help remove any loose ticks.
Use insect repellents safely. The most common used against ticks are:
Check your pets for ticks. Talk with your pets veterinarian about tick repellent medicine.
Where Can Lyme Disease Be Contracted
Deer ticks are found all over the 48 contiguous United States, with high concentrations in New England, the upper Midwest and northern California. They live in many different environments but are most commonly found in forests, wetlands, and areas with dense vegetation. Although ticks arent active when its below freezing, they begin to emerge after a few days of warming temperatures, and from then on they remain active until temperatures drop below freezing again.
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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.
When Should I Call The Doctor
If a tick bites you, call your doctor. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. That way you can get checked and treated, if needed. Call right away if you get a red-ringed rash, lasting flu-like symptoms, joint pain or a swollen joint, or facial paralysis.
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How Did My Dog Get Lyme Disease
Dogs contract Lyme disease through the bite of infected ticks. These ticks contain the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is a type of organism known as a spirochete.
There are at least four species of ticks in the world known to carry Lyme disease:
In the United States, the most common source of transmission is the deer tick or black-legged tick, scientifically known as Ixodes pacificus on the West Coast and Ixodes scapularis on the East Coast. In Europe, the Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks carry Lyme disease.
These ticks are tiny, which can make them hard to see or feel on your dog, and all stages of the tick can carry and spread the disease, although adult ticks tend to be the most infectious. It typically takes 24 to 48 hours after attaching to a host for the tick to spread the Lyme-causing bacteria, although transmission of disease can sometimes occur much more rapidly.
Certain areas are more prone to ticks than others. Wooded or grassy areas and areas with large tick populations pose the highest risk of infection. Ticks tend to be most active in the spring and fall when they are actively seeking hosts, which increases the risk of Lyme transmission. However, recent evidence indicates that ticks are also active in winter, as long as the temperature is above freezing.
Is Limping A Sign Of Lyme Disease
The drastic increase in tick population in the recent years has put four-legged canines in a vulnerable situation.;
Lyme disease presents an incredible risk for dogs. Veterinarians have much to say about this disease and shed great light on Lyme disease and what it means for pets.
Veterinarians;stress the importance of getting treatment before the bacteria multiplies in the specific bite region and gradually to the rest of the body.;
In dogs, the joints and limbs are one of the most common places where the bacteria can travel.;
When the disease spreads to the joints, it may result in permanent damage such as arthritis in the bones, which will lead to your dog limping.;
This is why veterinarians stress that checkups, when the symptoms are just starting to set, are vital for effective treatment.;
Limping is a very non-specific symptom of Lyme disease, and can be a cause of many different illnesses and injuries.; Therefore, limping does not exactly show that your dog has Lyme disease.;
However, if your dog is displaying other symptoms along with limping, then you should go to the veterinarian for a thorough check up.
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Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
Sometimes examination of a sample of joint fluid or cerebrospinal fluid
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is usually based on all of the following:
Typical symptoms, including rash
Opportunity for exposure
Usually, doctors do tests that measure antibodies to the bacteria in blood. However, antibodies may be absent if the test is done during the first several weeks of infection or if antibiotics are given before antibodies develop.
Antibodies develop in more than 95% of people who have had the infection for at least a month, particularly if they have not taken antibiotics. Once antibodies develop, they last for many years. Thus, antibodies may be present after Lyme disease has resolved or in people who have had an infection that did not cause symptoms.
Interpreting the results of blood tests is difficult. The uncertainty causes several problems. For example, in areas where Lyme disease is common, many people who have painful joints, trouble concentrating, or persistent fatigue worry that they have late-stage Lyme disease, even though they never had a rash or any other symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease. Usually, Lyme disease is not the cause. But they may have antibodies for the bacteria because they were infected years before and the antibodies last a long time. Thus, if a doctor treats people based solely on results of antibody tests, many people who do not have Lyme disease are treated with long, useless courses of antibiotics.
Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Although all stages of Lyme disease respond to antibiotics, early treatment is more likely to prevent complications.
Antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, taken by mouth for 2 to 3 weeks, are effective during the early stages of the disease. If early disease is localized, people may need treatment for only 10 days. If people cannot take any of these drugs, azithromycin is sometimes used but is less effective. Usually, doxycycline is not given to children under 8 years old or to pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Antibiotics can also help relieve many of the symptoms of Lyme disease.
For arthritis due to Lyme disease, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, cefuroxime, or doxycycline are given by mouth for 28 days, or ceftriaxone is given intravenously for 28 days.
For most neurologic abnormalities and for a type of abnormal heart rhythm called third-degree heart block , ceftriaxone or penicillin is given intravenously for 2 to 4 weeks. Sometimes a temporary pacemaker is needed for complete heart block. Doxycycline, given by mouth for 2 to 3 weeks, can help treat less severe first-degree heart block and Bell palsy.
Antibiotics eradicate the bacteria and, in most people, relieve arthritis. However, arthritis sometimes lasts even after all the bacteria are gone because inflammation continues. Even after successful antibiotic treatment, some people still have other symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and mental problems.
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Where Is Lyme Disease Found
Lyme disease has been found on every continent except Antarctica. It is found all across the United States, with a particularly high incidence in the East, Midwest, and West Coast. Rates have increased significantly over time. Some of this increase may be because of disease spread, but it is also likely that it reflects growing public awareness of the disease.
Not all ticks are infected. Within endemic areas, there is considerable variation in tick infection rates depending on the type of habitat, presence of wildlife and other factors. Tick infection rates can vary from 0% to more than 70% in the same area. This uncertainty about how many ticks are infected makes it hard to predict the risk of Lyme disease in a given region.
In the South, a Lyme-like disease called STARI transmitted by the Lone Star tick has been described. Scientists are still debating about what organism in the Lone Star tick may cause the disease as well as the treatment of patients with a rash in the South. However, Lyme disease has been reported in certain areas of the South and Southeast and patients with STARI may be quite ill. Because of this, patients in the South with a rash should be treated.
How Long Does It Take For Lyme Disease To Present Symptoms
Once infected with the bacteria, your dog will take two to five months to start displaying any symptoms of Lyme disease. This is the stage where bacteria is present in the body but not actively causing symptoms. Because of this, there can be quite a long gap in between the tick bite and the first signs.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease In Dogs
You will need to give a thorough history of your dogs health, including a background of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated them. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are being affected. Your veterinarian may run some combination of blood chemistry tests, a complete blood cell count, a urinalysis, fecal examinations, X-rays, and tests specific to diagnosing Lyme disease . Fluid from the affected joints may also be drawn for analysis.
There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma, degenerative joint disease, or osteochondrosis dissecans . Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. An X-ray of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.
Diagnosing And Treating Your Dog
Diagnosing your dog for Lyme disease requires the veterinarian to run an antibody test. This test takes a closer look at the bodys immunity. The response of the immune system is measurable by the test.;
The experts can see whether the antibody for Lyme disease is present for making a correct diagnosis. This will show that the dogs body has been fighting the disease. If the blood reports show a high volume of antibodies then your veterinarian can make a diagnosis. Once the experts confirm the presence of the infection, they will then start the treatment.
Fortunately, the treatment of Lyme disease is straightforward and includes taking antibiotics and painkillers. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available. Scientists continue to work on developing a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease.;
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What Are Possible Complications Of Lyme Disease In A Child
Some children may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . This means that some symptoms last longer than 6 months. Symptoms can include:
- Ongoing muscle and nerve pain
- Problems with memory
PLDS does not respond to antibiotics. That’s because there isn’t an active infection anymore. Treatment is aimed at helping to control the symptoms.
Lyme Disease: Symptoms & Side Effects
Lyme disease is a tick-born illness with over 150 symptoms, usually involving multiple systems. There are three stages of Lyme disease: early localized, early disseminated, and late persistent. If left untreated, it may progress into long-term disabilities. However, it is important to note that Lyme disease can lie dormant in your body for a prolonged period of time, and will invade when your immune system is compromised.
- Irritable bladder
- Upset stomach
- Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
- Oversensitivity to light
- Buzzing in ears
- Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sound
- Ringing in one or both ears
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Unexplained fevers
- Continual infections
- Symptoms seem to change, come and go
- Pain migrates to different body parts
- Early on, experienced a flu-like illness, after which you have not since felt well
- Twitching of facial or other muscles
- Facial paralysis
- Tingling of nose, cheek, or face
- Stiff or painful neck, creaks and cracks
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Memory loss
- Confusion, difficulty in thinking
- Difficulty with concentration or reading
- Going to the wrong place
- Speech difficulty
- Stammering speech
- Any joint pain or swelling
- Stiffness of joints, back, neck
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
- Weakness or partial paralysis
- Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
- Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
- Increased motion sickness
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Early Localizedstage Lyme Disease
Typically, a large, raised, red spot appears at the site of the bite, usually on the thigh, buttock, or trunk or in the armpit. The spot typically appears 3 to 32 days after the tick bite, which most people do not remember.
Usually, the spot slowly expands to a diameter of up to 20 inches , often clearing in the center. But the appearance can vary. For example, the center may remain red, or several rings may appear around the red center . Although erythema migrans does not itch or hurt, it may be warm to the touch. The spot usually disappears after about 3 to 4 weeks.
About 25% of infected people never developor at least never noticethe characteristic red spot.
Typically in Lyme disease, a red spot appears at the site of the tick bite. The spot slowly expands and often clears in the center.
Sometimes in Lyme disease, the red spot expands, but the center does not clear. The result is a red spot surrounded by a pale ring.
Sometimes in Lyme disease, the rash resembles a bull’s eye. It consists of a red spot in the center, surrounded by a pale ring, which is surrounded by a red ring.
How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
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