Last updated on October 28, 2019
Lyme disease or Lyme disease is a tick-borne infectious disease that occurs worldwide. The name “Lyme disease” or “Lyme disease” is due to the American place Lyme, where the disease was first described in humans in 1975. It is the most commonly diagnosed and tick-borne disease in humans. Infections from Borrelia bacteria are also common in dogs, but they rarely get sick from them.
The so-called Borrelia life in the intestine of the tick and can enter the bloodstream of the bitten animal with a bite. Often the infection in the dog is permanently symptomless. In other cases, symptoms occur that are initially quite non-specific but can become annoying and very intense. The type, intensity, and course of the disease are partly race-dependent. Tick populations vary by region from Borrelia bacteria.
Lyme disease is one of the so-called zoonoses, so it can also affect humans themselves. It is true that the dog does not regularly transmit the disease directly to humans. This would only be conceivable with direct blood contact between the two. But ticks bite people like dogs. The more of the parasites are close to humans, the greater the danger to the dog owner. This is another reason why adequate tick protection is a useful measure to prevent tick bites and Lyme disease in humans and animals. Proven Lyme disease is not accessible to self-treatment, the treatment and destruction of bacteria can be difficult as well as lengthy.
Lyme disease – What is it?
Borrelia bacteria are bacteria. They live permanently parasitic in small rodents such as mice, but also in red deer. There they are often picked up by ticks and then transferred to other host animals such as dogs.
Ticks go through different stages of development from the nymph to the adult animal. Thus, successively different host animals are bitten by the ticks, and the tick can absorb Borrelia bacteria and transfer it to the following host animal.
In humans, Borrelia bacteria mainly trigger various infections such as relapse fever and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is also known in dogs and, in the event of symptoms, a form of fever that is linked to paralysis and other ailments. The disease usually occurs in a surge, can remain undetected for a long time and symptomless.
Causes of Lyme disease
The disease is transmitted exclusively by tick bites. Not all ticks transmit the pathogens, but in some regions, high percentages of all ticks are affected. The risk of infection with the treacherous bacteria is extremely high there.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
It often occurs a few days after a tick bite, which has transmitted Borrelia bacteria, a characteristic, circular redness of the skin.
- swollen lymph nodes
- Joint pain and inflammation of the joints
- Paralysis symptoms
Signs of the disease usually occur two to five months or even later after infection with Lyme disease. Redness of the skin at the tick bite site as in humans can be shown directly, but this is rare and usually disappears after a week.
The symptoms of Lyme disease are not specific to this condition. Fever, loss of appetite, weakness, swelling of the lymph nodes and joints and lameness may occur due to joint inflammation. The clinical symptoms arise from an inflammatory reaction of the dog to the presence of the bacteria. Inflammation of the joint often begins at the joint closest to the tick bite.
Inflammation of the kidneys by Borrelia was described in the Golden Retriever, Labrador, and Bernese Mountain Dog.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease
The diagnosis of “Borreliosis” proves to be a challenge. Although antibodies can be detected in the blood about four to five weeks after transmission of Borrelia bacteria, they can also be detected after vaccination or prior contact with Borrelia bacteria. Thus, the absence of antibodies can rule out Lyme disease. For some time now, another blood test (Western blot) has been used to distinguish between antibodies by vaccination or by natural infection.
However, the presence of antibodies due to natural infection does not say anything about a disease of Lyme disease, but only about infection with these bacteria. Very often the Borrelia sits exclusively in the skin, does not spread in the organism and does not cause any symptoms. A so-called PCR can be carried out with skin samples at the tick bite site or near the first affected joint.
If Borrelia bacteria are found in this sample, this positive finding speaks for a disease. This method is currently only used in studies. Diagnostic therapy with an antibiotic is not proving a disease, as the drugs are also effective in other diseases and can treat joint inflammation in general. Only when the following criteria are met can one assume the diagnosis “Borreliosis”:
1. The dog must have had a tick bite.
2. Symptoms must be consistent with those of Lyme disease and other possible diseases with these symptoms must be excluded.
3. The dog must carry Lyme disease antibodies.
4. The dog must respond quickly to the therapy.
The Borrelia bacteria are even difficult to prove with a blood test. Borrelia bacteria do not change the parameters in blood analysis. False-positive-decisions, as well as false-negative-decisions, often occur. Typical blood tests show possible contact with the bacteria through antibody formation, but do not prove beyond a doubt that Lyme disease is currently present.
Completely new test forms such as C-Elisa 6 and Western-Blot are more accurate here, as they not only detect antibodies but also show an overall immunological analysis. Often, however, the veterinarian can only treat good luck with antibiotics and finds the suspicion confirmed after significant improvement of symptoms.
Treatment of Lyme disease A Lyme disease treatment does not work without the use of antibiotics. Alternative treatments on their own should only be considered in addition, or strictly tailored to symptoms such as joint pain.
School medical treatment by the veterinarian
The Borrelia bacteria are combated with suitable antibiotics. The initial treatment lasts at least 30 days and is repeated every three to four months for at least 5 days for extended periods. An improvement of ailments often occurs quickly but is not yet confirmation of a final cure. In addition, the veterinarian usually gives anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving substances.
Homeopathic remedies can be used primarily to supplement inflammation and joint pain. Consider, among others:
- Rhus Toxicodendron C30 for severe joint inflammation.
- Bryonia D4 also for joint discomfort.
- China D6 also for general pain in the muscle and joint area.
- Nux vomica D30 in case of paralysis.
The drugs should be given once daily in the dosage of 1 tablet or 5 globulin for one week. In the hand of a therapist belongs the possible treatment with a Borrelia nosode in the potency D or C 30. Nosodes are homeopathically prepared pathogens of the corresponding disease. Borrelia bacteria are rubbed, diluted and shaken. Infection is no longer to be feared after this processing.
Nosodes can be made from all conceivable pathogens. They are well suited for injections and often have a very convincing effect.
Prevention of Lyme disease
Several measures should best be taken to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. After each walk, the dog should be searched for ticks and removed immediately. Most infectious agents take at least 12 hours to get into the dog, so a large part of the ticks can be removed in this way. In addition, one should think about the use of repellent (ticks and insect-holding) spot-on preparations or collars in the dog.
Vaccination against Lyme disease is available, but only against few species of Borrelia bacteria. In addition, a very high antibody level is required for adequate protection. An existing infection cannot be eliminated by vaccination, the only infection with other Borrelia bacteria can be prevented. Before vaccination, it is advisable to test whether an infection with Borrelia bacteria has already taken place.
Vaccination against Lyme disease is classified as a non-core vaccination by the Standing Veterinary Commission. This means that it is only recommended in the case of highly exposed dogs in individual cases. It is important to protect your dog well against tick infestation, as these can also transmit other pathogens.
Garlic for immune-boosting
Anything that boosts the dog’s immune system supports the fight against Borrelia. Some naturopaths recommend as a precaution against tick bites the feeding with garlic. However, this recommendation is highly controversial, as other professionals not only consider it ineffective but consider garlic to be slightly toxic to dogs.
Repellents repel ticks
There is a wider choice of effective spot-on preparations for dogs. Spot-on is dripped in the neck and in large dogs in addition to the tail root and act against ticks for a certain period. You can now choose between natural and chemical agents. The aim is to reliably repel ticks. The arachnids should not even bite. These agents are therefore also called repellents.
Early tick removal can protect against infection
In the summer you should also search the dog daily for possible ticks. Ticks but pathogens only when they have been sucked for a few days on the animal. The sooner they are removed, the lower the risk of infection. When removing the tick, make sure that the tick is simply pulled out and no parts of it should remain on the body.
Under no circumstances is the tick similar to a thread to unscrew, as it was often recommended in the past. Also, no liquids such as alcohol or oil should be dropped on the tick. Anything that causes the tucked tick to die on the animal’s body should be avoided. Dying ticks increasingly release pathogens into the blood of the animal.
Vaccination against Lyme disease in dogs
Meanwhile, there is also a vaccine for dogs against Lyme disease. However, some veterinarians advise against vaccination, as in some cases kidney disease has occurred after vaccination. Obviously, the affected animals were already considered before the Borrelia vaccine, which led to a violent vaccination reaction.
Older vaccines such as Merilyn and Virbagen Canis B also had the disadvantage of capturing only part of the types of ticks spread in Germany. Only the vaccine Merilyn 3, which was introduced in 2014, is effective against three of the most widespread types of tick in Germany and works with an innovative technique directly in the intestine of the tick itself. Two vaccinations are required every three weeks.
Vaccinations do not protect against the tick bite itself.
Untreated Lyme Diseases and their consequences
Since Lyme disease is so unpredictable in its effects, it is the consequence of an infection as well. An untreated Borrelia infection can not cause the animal any discomfort, mild discomfort or serious illness such as paralysis. Some dog owners care about the possibility of Lyme disease and prevent tick bites, the greater the risk that the owners themselves will be bitten by ticks.
Ticks often run around the dog for hours before they bite. During this time they can also switch to the dog owner. In this respect, a good protection against ticks is required from every perspective.