Main Border Collies

LYME DISEASE

PK

LYME DISEASE and its implications for humans and dogs
lyme disease is nearer than you think; it is now endemic in the UK and according to official estimates they suggest there could be up to 3,000 new cases occuring in the UK every year. The true number of cases is not known, and may be higher still. Since full recovery may not take place in many cases, the total number of people affected is accumulating. There is apparently, concern that the disease appears to be under reported and inadequately investigated.
Lyme disease can affect both humans and animals so as shepherds, farmers pet owners and country lovers we need to be very aware of the first signs of an infected bite through to the difficulties relating to its diagnosis and treatment.
I have a friend whose son is a victim of this debilitating disease. He was bitten while out fishing; he recognised the initial skin reaction but on feeling fine, did nothing about it until it was too late. The disease had by then established itself and is proving immensely difficult to cure. He has been unable to drive or work for over 2 yrs now.
It is hoped that the following information may help in recognising the symptoms of lyme Disease and impress upon people how imperative it is to seek immediate and adequate treatment. It is however, more difficult to catch the disease in dogs quite as early.
Humans and other non-canine family members can become infected with the same tick borne disease that threatens dogs. If you live in a tick infested area or you have ever found a tick on your dog, you should be as diligent checking yourself as you are checking your dogs.
The following information has been gathered from official web sites for lyme Disease. More information and help is available at www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk  and with a more USA slant, from www.ilads.org  
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease
caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi, transmitted by the tick.
Is it prevalent in the UK?
In the UK Lyme Disease is mainly carried by the sheep tick, Ixodes Ricinus.
this tick can also feed on other wild animals and birds. the tick prefers to
live in woods heath and moorland, although it does not occur exclusively in
these habitats. cases of the disease are widespread and it is possible that
the full picture of tick distribution is no yet fully understood.
How does Lyme Disease start?
A clinical case of Lyme Disease occurs when a person or animal is infected
by a tick bite. Symptoms follow after an incubation period that may last
between 2 and 30 days. However on some occasions the bacteria do not
cause disease straight away. The bacteria can enter a phase in which they
do not cause symptoms but are still present; but they may still have the
potential to cause active disease at a later stage.
What are symptoms of Lyme Disease in Humans?
Lyme disease can affect any part of the body and cause many different symptoms. The most common symptoms relate to the person feeling unwell, having flu like symptoms, extreme tiredness, muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint pain ( unrelenting joint pain like toothache which can suddenly move to another joint), upset digestive system, headache, stiff neck, facial palsy, sensitive to temperature, sound and light levels, disturbances of the nervous system and a poor sleep patern. In some cases a characteristically shaped, expanding "bull's eye" rash appears on the skin. However, a rash in any form is not a universal symptom.
If the rash does occur, it is termed Erythema Migrans or EM rash. The list of symptoms known to be associated with Lyme Disease is long and diverse. The symptom pattern varies from person to person.
The rash is different from that caused by an allergic reaction to a tick or insect bite. Those symptoms appear as redness within hours to a day after a bite, do not grow and disappear within a day or two.
Note: the rash does not always appear, in fact 50% of sufferers do not recall having a rash.
Is there a test for Lyme Disease?
The centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that the diagnosis of Lyme Disease is based on symptoms, physical findings and the patients history. There are several laboritory tests that aim to detect this infection, however none of them are absolutely reliable in excluding Lyme Disease. The most common bllod test detects antibodies specific to Borrelia Burgdorferi but measurable quantities of antibodies are sometimes not produced until several weeks or months after the infection, if at all.
What is the treatment for Lyme Disease?
Treatment is with antibiotics and is most effective if started as soon as possible in the disease. If an EM rash occurs then treatment should be started immediately wothout waiting for a blood test, which at this early stage is likely to be negative. The optimum length of treatment is not known and there are no treatment guidelines specific to the UK. Two International sets of guidelines differ and NHS guidance for doctors says that until there is an International consensus a"longer course (more than 21 days) of antibiotics may be beneficial in some sub groups of patients after consultaion with lyme experts".
The opinion of some sufferers is that 14 days of antibiotic treatment is totally inadequate but 30 days of treatment , provided it is started early enough, is more successful.They report of the return of the disease and the necessity to be vigilant and treat accordingly before it takes a hold again. They also state that it is the Tetracycline antibiotics that are the most successful antibiotic used to treat Lyme Disease. 
Will my Doctor treat me for Lyme Disease?
If you have this diagnosis your Doctor should treat you. However many Doctors are not familiar with treating Lyme patients. In this case you would be better to see a Doctor who is familiar with the disease. Always try to keep your GP involved and informed. A worsening of the symptoms called Jarisch-Herxheimer reation may complicate the start of treatment. This does not occur in every case but if it should occur further medical advice should be taken. Lyme Disease is an infectious and the primary aim of treatment is eliminating the infection by the use of antibiotics. other medicines may have their place in treatment. Response in treatment varies from patient to patient.
Despite the different antibiotic treatments available, not all patients are cured of their infections. For these patients Lyme Disease is severe, p[ainful and disabling. The earlier treatment can be initiated, the greater the chance for a successful recovery.
You should report any adverse reactions which occur after being bitten by a tick, or after removing a tick, and the precautionary principle is that Lyme is more likely to be present than not.
It is a good idea to take a photo of the rash that appears as it may help with the diagnosis.
Summary of Important Details
* Tick-borne infections are not limited to 'hot spots' in the UK like the  New Forest and Scotland but are country wide.
* Lyme Disease is not new to the UK, it has been here since at least the 19th century, but incidence has certainly grown due to an increase in tick numbers.
* Lyme Disease cannot be ruled out by a negative ELISA or Western Blot blood test.
* You do not have to be bitten by a tick attached for 24hours to contract the disease. Borrelia is present in tick saliva and not just the gut contents, poor removal of the   tick can cause regurgitation of the stomach contents of the tick into the unfortunate host.
* Not all ticks carry Borrelia; you can be bitten by a (relatively) healthy tick (major studies in US so far)
* Early diagnosis and adequate treatment should lead to a good recovery...definition of adequate?
* Up to 50% of people diagnosed do not remember being bitten by a tick or any specific bite marks.
* A long standing infection cannot be cured with a few weeks (or months) of oral biotics. We are dealing with a 'stealth bicrobe' that may need many months of treatment  just to allow the patient a better quality of life, reducing bacterial load should be the initial aim of any treatment and you will certainly need IV treatment if you have neurological or joint problems.
* No steroids or immunossupressant should be given even if the patient is remotely suffering from Lyme, or serious permanent damage may result.
* Lyme Disease is multi-systemic and cannot be ruled out before a diagnosis of ME/CFS or any other fatigue syndrome is reached.
* After a tick bite BP undergoes rapid hematogenous dissemination, and for example, can be found within the nervous system within 12 hours after entering the blood steam. this is why early infections require full dose antibiotic therapy with an agent able to penetrate all tissues in concentrations known to be bactericidal to the organism.
This summary and more info can be found on www.wadhurst.demon.co.uk
Lyme Disease in Dogs
The above also applies to dogs with just a few exceptions.
Every year thousands of dogs contact Lyme Disease,anaplasmosis and other vector borne diseases.
With their furry/hairy coats, proximity to the ground, love of exploration and work, dogs are 50% more likely to come into contact with disease carrying ticks.
Many people don't know that their dog is suffering from these debilitating diseases until it is too late.
Numerous products and medications to prevent ticks are available over the counter or from your vet but no method offers 100% protection.
Tick Removal and Prevention for Dog Owners.
* Check for ticks daily,=. If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away,
 preferably with a removing tool whch should ensure that the whole tick is removed.
* In dogs especially if you find one tick, look for others, there is never just one.
* After the dog returns from work etc. check the dog for ticks then 2 hours later
check again to ensure that any that have been in the coat have also been detected.
* It is very important to check oneself and the dog after returning from a tick area.
* Dispose of it safely.
* NEVER use petroleum jelly, hot match, cigarette, nail polish or any other products
 to remove the tick as these can create stress in the tick and encourage it to
regurgitate its guts and infection into the bite wound.
* Use a tick preventative on your dog. Topical application of repellents onto dogs to prevent tick infestation is effective. Several drugs and formulations are available, incuding spot-ons, powders, sprays,solutions, collars and shampoos. However if combined with daily tick removal, this method can be very effective. However, manufacturers like: www.uk.merial.com/pet_owners/dogs/ticks.asp will not give 100% guarantee against the prevention of ticks so again, check yourself and your dog regularly.
* In general, prevention against Borrelia Burgdorferi infection via vaccination only, is not recommended.
The decision whether to vaccinate or not should always be based on careful consideration of individual behaviour and circumstances, which include geographic location, outdoor activities and risk of tick infection.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs
* Unlike humans, dogs do not go through three clear stages :
* There is no rash
* Dogs generally present with signs of arthritis in the joints closest to the tick bites. Two to six months after being bitten, the lameness, which is the primary indicator of possible Lyme Disease, can come on suddenly and severely for no apparent reason; other times it comes on more gradually. You may see shifting lameness where the dog favours one leg then another. Lameness may come and go, sometimes for weeks at a time.
* Joint pain and/or severe joint pain that does not get better with rest.
* The dog may go off its food.
* Neurological damage is possible with the following haveng been reported: seizures,changes of temperament, dullness and the opposite exteme to aggression, depression, swollen lymph nodes, moving stiffly or not at all,swollen joints that may be warm to the touch, fever.
 The first signs of clinical disease are unspecific and do not develop in all dogs;
Acute signs can be: fever, general malaise, lameness, swelling of the local lymph nodes.
This stage is often overlooked or is not followed by the owner, because the first 3 symptoms disappear after a few days.
Erythema Migrans (bulls eye rash) which can be found in many humans, has not been described in dogs; but a small, reddish leasion, approx. 1cm in diameter can be found around the tick bite. This is an inflammatory response to the tick bite and disappears within days of removing the tick.
Dogs can show lamenes 2 - 6 months after the infection.
Severe lameness lasts for 2 - 5 days and would be recgnised initially at the site of the tick bite. The lameness is described as intermittent limping and sometimess re-curring 2 - 3 weeks later in the same limb or in a different limb.
Normally Lyme Disease can be crippling but it doesn't kill.
Unfortunately, some dogs develop Lyme nephritis, a condition in which the glomeruli in the kidneys which filter the blood are inflamed and destroyed. It is incurable, although treatment and palliative measures may keep the dog going and extend the time it has left, sometimes much longer than predicted.
Treatment
Several boad spectrum antibiotics are available to treat Lyme Disease and are generally effective, especially in the earlier stages of the disease. Response to antibiotics is typically seen within 3 - 5 days. Be sure to follow the treatment plan recommended by your vet. (According to owners of dogs with Lyme Disease, the disease appears to recrudesce every 30 days requiring antibiotic treatment for the full 30 days, otherwise it can die down and the recur within the 30 days, most often 2-3 days after stopping the antibiotics.
More info : www.dogandticks.com
Is there holistic treatment for lyme Disease?
Homeopaths have reported success with early or mild cases of lyme Disease.
Following up chronic Lyme cases with homeopathy can strengthen the immune system in some cases.
Further info: www.naturalvetforpets.com/fags.html
What is a tick?
A tick is a small blood sucking anthrapod.
Where and when are ticks found?
Cold temperatures reduce tick activity,
so they are most active from April to October.
They may survive more than one year without
food and their bodies can remain in a dormant
state for long periods of time. Their bodies dry
out quickly, so lack of moisture can be fatal to
them in hot dry summers and cold dry winters.
They survive in slightly moist shady areas such
as braken, shrubs and leaf litter. Ticks find their
host through "questing" -crawling up grass stems,
heading for the edges of leaves on the ground,
on shrubs and even up trees, they then wait for a
potential meal to come by. They appear to react
to heat, motion and carbon dioxide exhaled by
humans and animals. When a host is detected,
they raise their fron legs and wait until the animal
brushes against them, then latch on.
Where will the tick bite?
many people are unaware that they have been bitten because the ticks are tiny and the bites usually painless. they can attach anywhere on your body. Adults- it is particularly important to check armpits,groin,navel, neck and head. In addition on children - frequently found on head at hairline.
Awareness is the main strategy for prevention.
* You should make it more difficult for a tick to reach your skin, by wearing shoes rather than sandles, and tucking long trousers into your socks.
* Ticks Ticks can more easily be seen on white or light coloured clothing.
* Avoid, if possible, a tick's favourite places by walking in the middle of paths and checking yourself after sitting on logs or leaning against tree trunks.
* Consider spraying your clothing with an effective insecticide.
Tick Removal
* The main aim is to remove all parts of the tick's body and to prevent it releasing
 additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into your bite wound.
* DO use a proprietary tick removal tool, available from pet, shops, vets and on line.
* If no tools are available, rather than delay, use a cotton thread, tie a single loop of
cotton around the tick's mouth parts, as close to the skin as possible,then pull
gently upwards and outwards.
* DO commence by cleansing the tick tool with antiseptic.
After tick removal cleans the bite site with antiseptic.
* DO wash hands afterwards.
* Do save the tick in a container in case you develop symptoms later (label with date and location).
* DO NOT squeeze or twist the body of the tick, as this may cause it to separate and leave the head in the skin.
* DO NOT use your fingernails to remove the tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in the skin.
* DO NOT crush the tick's body, as this may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound.
* DO NOT try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly, nail varnish or any other chemical. Any of these methods can
cause discomfort and stress to the tick, resulting in regurgitation or saliva release.
In most cases but not all, the Borrelia organisms do not leave the tick until at least 12 hours from the first bite on the host. Experiments have shown that infection can be passed in 6 hours. It is thought that this is probably when a partially fed tick falls off and the re-attaches itself to a different host: so it already has the bacterium in it's salivary gland and one bite - Bob's your uncle! This is why is is so important to check oneself and the dog when you have returned from being in a tick area. The longer the tick is attached, the more likely the transfer of any infection.

This is not a substitute for professional medical or veterinarian advice and is intended as general information on and an awareness of Lyme Disease. If you (or your dog) have or suspect that you have Lyme Disease, you should contact your doctor (or vet) immediately.
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Case Histories
  (March 2011) R.A. USA
 have had Lyme Disease and so has my dog, I had toothache like pain in my joints. it was so bad I didn't know what to do with the joint in question.I'd hold my wrist and set it down on a pillow to prevent it from moving but nothing helped. Then like some-one flipped a swtch, the pain in my wrist was gone and it would start up in another joint, like my knee, my ankle or elbow on the other arm. It is so wierd I can't explain how it felt. it was the worst pain I can think of other than a bad toothache.I was blood tested and it came back negative: they said I didn't have Lyme Disease. I went on the antibiotics for Lyme Disease anyway. After 3 days the pain was gone and I stayed on the antibiotics for 14 days, then after the third day off the antibiotics it was back; so my Doctor put me back on them for anothe 14 days. Again after the 3rd day I was very worried but nothing happened this time....no pain. I had been good for about 2 years and it started again; I guess once you've had it  it will come back more easily. So I went back on the antibiotics and after 20 days on them it was gone and never came back.
My dog also had Lyme Disease. he had a blood test and the titer was so far above normal that we put him on the antibiotics and he stayed on them for almost 6 weeks. He had joint pain in his front knee. The pain weas so bad he would cry out if you touched it; I had it xrayed and it was fine. I did the test again and that was when they said it was Lyme Disease. he had one more bout with it and I have been able to catch it before it gets to the pain he was in the first time. he has been clear now for 2 yrs. I just keep my eyes open for ticks on the dogs and myself now. I will have it for the rest of my life, it can come back but we just watch for it and stop it before it gets a hold of us again. Not a nice thing for anyone or dog to go through.  
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(March 2011) D.W. Wales
Approximately 2 years ago I was bitten by a tick while out fishing in Scotland. After which red rings appeared around the bite which I now know to be a "bull's eye" rash. It lasted a couple of days. As I didn't feel ill at the time, I brushed it aside and forgot about it until about 6mths later when the illness hit me. I came home from work with the following symptoms: stiff neck, muscle pain, poor co-ordination, then flu like symptoms, palpatations,extreme tiredness and weakness, tingling sensations through my legs and face and panic attacks. I have not been able to drive or work since.
My original doctor was not familiar with Lyme Disease and although I told him that I had been bitten and had the "bull's eye rash" he dids not consider Lyme Disease as a possible sourse but treated me for suspected diabetes and a week's supply of antibiotics for a virus that he thought I might have. I changed my Doctor to one who recognised the seriousness of the disease. I had 4 weeks of antibiotics which was about 12 months now after the bite followed by another 3 week course 12 months later. I had 4 or 5 one week courses of more antibiotics in between for secondary infections such as sinusitis. I have had many blood tests including samples sent to Lyme specialists in Southampton and numerous visits to Liverpool Infectious Diseases Dept. and all have come back negative which I understand to be quite common.....the only thing the tests have shown is a rise in white blood cells indicating that my body is busy fighting something but they don't have proopf of what.
Today the symptoms are much the same but milder without the pain and the palpitations. Doctors now say this is because the bugs are dead and its just a matter of clearing the "neuro - toxins" from the system and allowing the body to heal.....time will tell!!!
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If anyone has any experiences with lyme Disease that they would like to share please contact Sue

Bull's eye rash
or
Erythema Migrans
Trix now sell a quick test 
to see if the tick is carrying 
Lyme Disease....
takes 10 mins ...worth a look.
www.tickremover.com
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