Tick Borne Diseases in Dogs

We all have heard about Lyme disease and most of us probably know a family member, friend, or coworker who has contracted it. Additionally, most of us probably know that dogs can also get Lyme disease. However, did you also know that there are other common tick-borne diseases? In Marin, we have two common tick-borne diseases, Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. Both of these diseases are caused by bacteria that are transmitted from ticks into dogs and people when bitten.

Both diseases are carried by the same two species of ticks in Marin, the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the Western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). With our mild climate and no prolonged freeze during our winter, we have tick exposure throughout the entire year. These two factors are why we recommend year round tick prevention for our canine friends. Prevention of the disease is much easier than treating the disease.

The symptoms of both Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis are also similar. The most common symptoms are lethargy (excessively tired, listless), lameness/limping, fever, and decreased appetite. Many dogs develop a mild case after being exposed to these bacteria and have no symptoms, however, there are some that can get quite sick. These dogs often require hospitalization, IV fluids, and antibiotics, and once the patient is stable to go home, they are treated for about 1 month with oral antibiotics. With Lyme disease, there is also a very small number of our patients who will develop Lyme nephritis (a form of kidney disease) that can have lifelong consequences. If your dog has been exposed to ticks that have taken a blood meal, and they are showing the above symptoms, then testing them and treating them is important.

Isn’t there a vaccine? What can I do to prevent these diseases? What should I do? These are all excellent questions. There is a vaccine to help prevent Lyme disease, however, we don’t recommend it as a routine vaccine for our canine patients at Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital (TLVH). Given the overall prevalence of Lyme disease in Marin and that there are extremely effective preventative treatments, the vaccine is not considered a core vaccine for our patients. However, if you are traveling with your dog to the Upper Midwest or NY/New England, you might want to consider this vaccine. These are the current recommendations from the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. For prevention, there are several effective treatments for ticks. At Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital, we are currently recommending the oral medication Nexgard, but there are other options also available as special orders. These oral medications are all very effective at killing ticks (and fleas) before they have the opportunity to transmit the bacteria. Seresto and Preventic are very effective options that are used as collars. While there are several topical products, we are finding that they are not as effective as they once were and are not recommending them as the first choice. Last year, especially, we had several clients report that Advantix and Frontline Plus were not working for them any longer.

So what is the take home message?

Yes we do have ticks here and yes they can carry diseases that can infect our dogs and us. We recommend that all of our canine companions are on a tick and flea preventative year round. We would be happy to discuss the options in greater detail at your next appointment. Here is some general information about tick prevention in Marin

~Andrew Lie DVM, DABVP- Canine + Feline Practice

Physical Rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation is the diagnosis and management of patients with painful or functionally limiting conditions, particularly those with injury or illness related to the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems. The goal of rehabilitation is to achieve the highest level of function, independence and quality of life
possible for the patient.

Our rehabilitation certified veterinarian provides leadership to a rehabilitative team that can consist of other veterinary professionals, such as surgeons, pain management specialists, technicians and rehabilitation therapists. We will work closely with your pet’s primary care and specialty veterinarians. Your rehab- certified veterinarian can prescribe pain medications if needed and may offer therapies such as cold laser and therapeutic exercise. We will also prescribe a treatment program including additional therapies, some of which you can provide at home that are specifically designed to meet your pet’s needs. This multimodal approach provides greater opportunity for a successful outcome.

Physical rehabilitation can benefit pets with a diversity of issues. Patients can range from athletes to geriatric pets to young animals with congenital abnormalities. Rehab therapies can aid in recovery from surgery or injury, help restore mobility, improve strength and decrease pain. See the list below for conditions that are commonly treated with rehabilitative therapies. This list is not exhaustive and many of the conditions may require surgical repair in conjunction with rehabilitation.

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Cruciate ligament tears
  • Tendinopathies
  • Sports injuries
  • Patellar luxation
  • Fractures
  • Amputation
  • Joint dislocation
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Spondylosis deformans
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Lumbosacral disease
  • Fibrocartilagenous embolism (FCE)
  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
  • Polyneuropathy (GOLPP)
  • Vestibular disease
  • Obesity

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercises can improve strength, flexibility, balance and coordination and can slow progression of disease, leading to an enhancement in mobility and better quality of life. Our rehabilitation practitioner professional will devise an individualized plan for your pet with specific goals.

Therapeutic Laser

Laser therapy is the use of light (typically infrared) energy to stimulate tissue repair and provide pain management. Laser therapy may alleviate muscle and joint discomfort, relieve symptoms of arthritis, relax muscle spasms and increase blood flow to an area, helping injuries to heal.

Therapeutic Massage

Massage therapy is a series of manual techniques used to improve a patient’s physical and emotional well-being.

Physiological benefits of massage include pain relief, improved joint mobility, relaxation and increased circulation.

Manual Therapy / Joint Mobilization / Passive Range of Motion

Manual therapy can include a variety of techniques, including passive range of motion (PROM), joint mobilization and chiropractic. Manual therapies can be of great benefit to joints, allowing for greater movement and can also provide significant pain relief.

Orthotics, Prosthetics and Assistive Devices

Custom fitted splints, braces, carts and even prosthetic limbs are available from many rehabilitation veterinarians. These devices are used to support an injured limb while it heals, to correct a deformity or to encourage correct limb use. Carts are fitted to patients that are paralyzed or unable to walk without support.

Come meet our certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, Dr Michelle V. Rose and find out how we can help your pet today!