A brief on Lyme Disease in Dogs
Lyme disease, known as BORRELIOSIS, is a tick borne
bacterial disease of man and animals. It is of zoonotic
importance and dogs run a greater risk.
Lyme Disease is also known as Erythema chronicum
migrans. It is caused by spirochete bacterium, Borrelia
burghdorferi transmitted by Ixodes ticks (hard ticks). Deer
and rodents are important reservoir hosts. Untreated case
can be fatal. The name ' Lyme' is derived from a town in
By 3 host tick, Ixodes. Both larvae and nymph may acquire
infection feeding infected reservoir host. The highest
incidence of Lyme disease is seen with the seasons of
greatest tick activity.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Dogs may show lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy and
lymphadinopathy. Painful joints, at times with swelling.
Clinical and laboratory diagnosis will reveal renal, cardiac
and neurological syndromes. Also noticed are, uraemia,
hyperphosphataemia, bradycardia (most common), facial
paralysis and seizures.
Lyme arthritis is characterized by sudden onset of
lameness, fever, joint swelling and lymph node
enlargement. This is the most common syndrome seen in
practice. Lyme nephritis is generally fatal and is
characterized by vomiting, weight loss, elevated kidney
values, protein loss from the kidneys, peripheral oedema
and active urine sediment.Young dogs are usually affected.
History, symptoms, lab data, epidemiology, response to
antibiotics & elimination of other etiological factors would
help to confirm the diagnosis. Clinical data depends upon
the type of affection. eg - Cardiac: ECG or EKG; Renal:
uraemia and Soft tissue: limb and joint disease.
A positive blood titre is an indication of exposure to the
organism ( via a vaccine or tick bite) and by itself is not
diagnostic of Lyme disease. A positive titre can take up to
6 weeks to develop and may remain elevated for months to
years without new infection.
A serological test for antibodies by ELISA, Immuno
Fluorescent Antibody (IFA) or Western blot (protein
immuno electrophoresis) assays may indicate infection.
Incubation is often very prolonged. Antibodies may last
from months to years. Isolation and detection
of this organism from the joints, peri-articular tissue and
blood are other sources. Culturing is difficult. A Western
Blot test can distinguish antibodies from a vaccine or
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