Lyme Disease Questions + More

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.


Barked: Sat Jul 6, '13 11:17am PST 
Recently on our annual Veterinary checkup I was stunned to hear Freya has Lyme disease and countless $ later with the Doxycycline 2/3 gone it occurs to me she had no symptoms at all, which our vet stated is not unusual, but others I talk to are no so sure especially since the "Snap" test used for that has been called inconclusive by 3 different friends vets. I am also concerned since the American Veterinary Association no longer suggests or recommends the DHLPP (Distemper Vaccine) and suggests if you want to do it no more often than 2 years, but our vet does them every year.
My question is after being so far along in the antibiotic does anyone know if I can still have another vet test her with a better test to see if she really has Lyme Disease.

Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Sat Jul 6, '13 3:37pm PST 
Regarding the Lyme.

It is often very difficult to find a tick borne disease knowledgeable vet.
If there is any color change at all on the Snap Test, there has been exposure.

The Tick list recommends doing a C6 test to check antibody titers after a positive snap test. Personally, given that Lyme can sometimes have practically no visible symptoms until your dog's kidneys crash, I lean toward treatment.

Here is a good site to read up on Lyme and the other tick borne diseases:

Momma is the- center of the- universe...
Barked: Sat Jul 6, '13 5:59pm PST 
I've been driving my "old-school" Vet a little nuts in the past 3 years because I refuse to adhere to the one year vaccine schedule they want to impose.
I bring my dogs in twice in the spring for check up and non-core vaccines as needed. I have them set up so they get rabies one year, DHPP the second year, nothing the 3rd year and then repeat.

I do Leptospirosis as a separate vaccine and never on the same appointment with another vaccine.

Snickers is now at least 10 years old. He will have one more rabies vaccine in 2015. Other than that, no more core vaccines for him.

The vaccine guidelines say that only healthy dogs should be vaccinated. I would not vaccinate a dog on antibiotics for another illness. I would come back in 2-4 weeks.


I'm Not a Pit- Bull
Barked: Sun Jul 7, '13 4:10pm PST 
I’m apologetic to hear Freya has Lyme Disease. I actually don’t vaccinate against Lyme Disease because it’s less than 80% effective and in my eyes, that's just pointless.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sun Jul 7, '13 5:35pm PST 
Freya, it's a toss up with Lyme vaccines/treatment. I know with the older vaccines/testing, if a dog had ever been vaccinated, it would show up as a positive on the Lyme test whether or not the dog had ever had Lyme disease. I believe, but am not sure, that the newer vaccines OR tests do not cause this positive reading. According to Lymediseaseguide.org, "The Lyme disease vaccine for dogs is only thought to be about 60-70% effective, with some dogs going on to develop Lyme disease even after vaccination." That said, in a Lyme endemic area that is a pretty high protection rate when they go on to state that 65% of the general dog population is ALREADY exposed to Lyme, but only about 35% of those will go on to become actively sick from the disease.
Our vets definitely promote the vaccine, and as a groomer, I pick ticks off dogs daily! Most of these dogs ARE vaccinated, and most of them will never have any issues with Lyme disease.
However, that said, I do not vaccinate my own dogs against Lyme. They are all toy breeds, kept clipped short and they are confined to pens that are regularly patrolled by my tick eating chickens and Guinea fowl. I have a regular practice of going over each dog after we come back inside from our romps in the big fields or woods, and again the next morning so would hopefully find any ticks prior to the period at which they can become infective to the dog. So far this has worked great and I have never had any one of them test positive on the snap test.
However, since you already DID test positive, I would agree with Chandler (who, btw LIVES in serious Lyme infested country), and consult with a vet who is knowledgeable in tick borne diseases. I am not sure what effect the prior course of antibiotics would have on any further testing but a vet who knows Lyme should be able to answer that for you.
As for the yearly DHLPP vaccine, newest protocol indicates that every three years is more than adequate for core vaccines.
Good luck!

Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Sun Jul 7, '13 7:14pm PST 

There have been improvements in testing for Lyme:

The IDEXX C6 test and their SNAP tests only find active cases of Lyme, not evidence of vaccination.

The Cornell Lyme Disease Multiplex test can measure three separate things:
1. Immune response to Lyme vaccination.
2. Whether there is a new infection.
3. Whether there is a chronic infection.

That page I linked also has information about joining a group that is focused on the treatment of tick borne diseases. It is a good place to get advice on your situation and see if anybody knows a vet in your area that is Lyme literate. The group has found that dogs are commonly undertreated for tick borne diseases; I can honestly say I have a friend whose dog was undertreated and now has chronic Lyme.

I'll repeat that the page I linked is an EXCELLENT source of information on Lyme and other tick borne diseases. It is really worth a read, and there is no way I could squeeze all the information on it into a post. wink

ps. Yep, Connecticut is ground zero for Lyme. frown

Edited by author Sun Jul 7, '13 7:16pm PST


I'm Not a Pit- Bull
Barked: Tue Jul 9, '13 8:50pm PST 
I won’t do Lyme vaccines and nobody will change my mind. Testing for Lyme is actually very accurate nowadays.

Bigger is Better
Barked: Sat Jul 13, '13 9:12pm PST 
Lyme disease can be treated naturally with PetAlive TF Defense. I would never give my dog the DHLPP vaccine. I would stop the antibiotics, start the PetAlive TF Defense and have her re-tested.