Lyme Disease and Pets

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Our Yorkie Poo, Kiwi.  The kids named her after the fruit.

So I’m sure the title gave away what I’m going to talk about.  I had planned to post about something different in relation to today’s daily prompt.  That is, until I finished my yoga class and was walking to my car.  There was this cute little bunny in the parking lot.  Older ones are usually more alert and dart away quickly.  This one gave me time to pull out my cell phone and capture a picture before it perked up and dashed off.

What I saw on it before it dashed away made me feel physically ill.  I’ve tried to crop this, which makes it grainier and it’s still hard to see, but this rabbit was covered in ticks.  At least one on its nose, four rimming its left ear, some sporadically on the centers of both of its ears, and some along its side.

The mountains of Virginia have a real tick problem.  I’ve known this for years in our travels up here.  Lyme disease was actually one of my biggest fears when we decided to move here.  I was more concerned for my children than my pets.  The dogs have a tick preventative that I use on them.  I was quite surprised our first spring/summer here, when I saw a tick crawling on our Golden’s nose.  Nothing came of that and we continued about with life.

Fast forward to this year and our Yorkie Poo is due for her annual checkup.  I had some recent concerns that I brought up to the vet, (hence, the dog  obligations.)  They included: she would sometimes wet on the couch.  This wasn’t intentional squatting.  It was, she’d get up and there was a wet spot.  She has been spayed so the Dr. thought this may be age related (she’s 6 1/2) changes that sometimes happen.  She was also vomiting up her water most mornings.  It seemed like she was drinking too much, too fast, so we discussed limiting the amount before she ate.  I also thought she seemed to be panting a little more than normal, which made me nervous because our Golden had done that when she got really ill.

They do the routine tests and it comes back that she is positive for Lyme. Not only was this stressful of its own accord, but we were heading into dates from the year before that would end in the passing of our other dog.  According to the paperwork they gave me, Lyme manifests itself differently in dogs than in humans.  In some dogs, illness never occurs. The things that I brought up to the ve, however,r make us think we should do more testing.  We decided to go ahead and start the 4-week treatment of doxycycline.

Kiwi had a QC6 test run which tests the level of antibodies.  Anything below 30 is considered insignificant. Hers came back at 300.  The vet cautioned that the number must be taken with a grain of salt.  She has seen dogs as high as 800 that weren’t any more sick than one at 150.  The bigger concern was that her urinalysis came back with protein and her BUN and creatinine levels were mildly elevated on her bloodwork.  This led to concerns that the Lyme had caused nephritis.

They put her on a vasodilator since her blood pressure was elevated.  They also included some Omega-3 after she adjusted to the prior medicine.  She also had to be put on a prescription diet for kidney health.  She can’t have any other treats.  This is a big issue since she functions like a little Hoover vacuum.  We have had one follow up where her blood pressure is normal, but the creatnine is still higher than the vet would like.  We will have a follow up when she has spent more time exclusively on the kidney diet to see if we have stabilized the kidneys.

All this from a little tick bite.

I have recently talked to some other people who have had dogs come back Lyme positive even though they were using preventatives.  I hope that we are able to stop the loss of her kidney function even though what has been lost can’t be recovered.  Most of the time she is still her perky, sometimes passive aggressive, self.  She loves to spend more time with me than she used to and accompanies me on car rides to pick up kids.  Even though she is technically my daughter’s dog, she likes me pretty well. 🙂

Along for the ride at soccer pickup.  Pre-haircut.  I leave it long in the winter.

Let your light shine!


10 thoughts on “Lyme Disease and Pets

  1. I’m terrified of this as well. We switched Vets since last Summer and we were told by our new Vet that the preventative we were using was not effective against the ticks in our area. We thought we had made a mistake switching Vets because how could this be true? We’d been sold this med of years and told it would protect our Vivi.
    We did some research and low and behold, it is not very effective against ticks in our area.
    I was so upset about this.
    We’ve switched her preventatives and even though she’s on them monthly, my husband still checks her in the Summer.
    Most people in the city don’t use the preventatives but I would never forgive myself if I didn’t.

    I’m sorry your Kiwi is going through this. Hugs to you and yours.

    1. Thank you for the hugs 🙂 I usually cut her hair short in the spring and summer and will definitely be continuing that so I can see if any make it past the preventative.
      I have only seen one on her in the almost 3 years that we have lived here and I have to wonder “was that the one”.
      I’m glad that we caught it when we did since her numbers are considered mildly to moderately elevated.

  2. Hard to like this post, but I think you’re right to bring attention to it. I have wondered about this, because the preventative we use on our dog kills ticks (depending on size) instantly to within 48 hours. But that is of course, after she’s been bitten. Ticks aren’t as bad here, I guess there’s that.
    I am sad for your doggie 🙁

  3. So sorry to hear about Kiwi’s diagnosis and we send you all our love. Our dogs are treated with tick preventative but Ruby still got one just above her eye. We always carry a tick remover (easily available in the UK) which twists the tick out in its entirety. We hope Kiwi’s condition will stabilise with the kidney diet. Thinking of you 💜

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