An easy way to screen for tick-borne diseases is to ask your veterinarian to be sure to use the 4DX heartworm test when testing yearly for heartworm disease. This tests for three of the above-mentioned tick-borne diseases. If your pet seems listless and unwell, it is paramount to take him in to see his veterinarian as soon as possible. Tests for tick-borne illness may be indicated. If testing positive, antibiotics will be indicated as treatment as well as possible supportive therapy and hospitalization. Some tick-borne diseases can be life threatening, and prompt attention typically yields the best outcome.
Lyme is the most commonly report tick-borne disease in the United States. The most serious form is Lyme nephritis, which is an immune-mediated glomerulonephritis with Lyme-specific immune complexes deposited in the glomeruli. Fancy words aside, the Lyme agent couples with antibodies and compromises kidney function. Some dogs can end up with Lyme arthritis, which is typically responsive to an extended course of antibiotics. Those dogs who are found positive on 4DX but have no outward clinical signs should have their urine checked for protein at the least and possibly a blood panel complete with titer checking to better assess the state of the disease. Each tick-borne disease has its own area of mayhem in the body with the ability to inflict serious disease states or death.
Written by Dr. Angela Bross, DVM
Angela Bross, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Hampton Roads Virginia
HamptonRoads@lapoflove.com | www.lapoflove.com
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