Lyme Disease BE AWARE in your dog and perhaps Yourslelf
- My dog died my handsome strong warrior and my protector. It happened fast 3 1/2 months and boom just an empty spot in my heart and my house. So I'm writing this to keep his spirit going for other people to be aware and not do the mistakes that I made. It is not a matter to be overlooked. If your dog is outside at anytime which I think 99% of our dogs are you have a 99% chance that your dog has Lyme disease. Take your dog to the vet right away and ask for a blood test. It is worth every penny and give your dog antibiotics every 2 months it is worth it. Don't wait don't be ignorant like I was. Lyme disease here in CR will and can kill your dog fast if not being treated right away and I mean right away. I hope that my experience and my beautiful dog's passing to be an angel can help you and help your dog to live and not die young and in pain from Lyme disease. And also get yourself tested.......
- Thank you for the heads-up, and I'm so sorry for your loss - I know how you
feel from your post!
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- There is one known local case (in 2012) of Lyme disease among humans
reported in Costa Rica. See:
Another case (in 2011) had been reported of a woman who apparently came
here with the infection:
If a vet tells you your dog has Lyme, ask for a copy of the lab test
results, and if it is confirmed, report it immediately to national
authorities. Costa Rica has a very good epidemiological reporting system
and it is important that they know about new diseases.
And based on only one reported case of a locally aquired infection, Lyme
would be classified as a new disease in Costa Rica.
- Dogs In Costa Rica - Ehrlichiosis is the hidden disease
Ehrlichiosis isn't going away, it's on the increase and it is a serious disease... Your dog can die from it. It was once considered a tropical disease but is now a challenge in northern climes located in the USA as well.
However, many of us from North America aren't aware of it and in fact it really isn't commonly know even among locals either, and so it can go unnoticed until too late. I will keep the medical jargon as brief as possible but you can do a more in depth search via "the net" if you would like more details.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Ehrlichiosis is the general name used to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. These diseases are caused by the organisms in the genus Ehrlichia."
This disease is tick borne, (carried similar to Lyme's disease) occurs most commonly in dogs, and perhaps some other mammals, and can occur in people (only if bitten by a disease carrying tick, you could never get it from direct contact from a dog). It can cause severe anemia, hemorrhage, depressed immune system, and ultimately death.
The early symptoms are subtle and many times you may not be aware your dog is sick until they are so weak that they collapse. Many times you may only notice that your dog "looks tired and has little energy" and maybe has a depressed appetite.
Remember, the beginning symptoms are subtle and your dog may show only one or even several of the above symptoms in the beginning. The membranes of the mouth, tongue or eye conjunctiva may become pale due to the anemia. These are some of the early symptoms. Don't ignore them. Your dog's fatigue may anemia due to the disease.Sometimes the presence of the disease is discovered accidentally when your dog has to go in for surgery maybe for a routine spay or neuter and bleeds more than normal (with low platelets impeding the clotting process) Get him/her to your vet to do a blood test as quickly as possible. This is when you have the best chance of a cure.
Be sure you have both a complete blood test (looking at red blood cells, hematocrit, haemoglobin, white blood cells and platelets) and the "snap test" which is an antibody test which covers some three diseases, one which is Ehrlichiosis.
Don't have only the quick "snap test" done because it alone isn't as accurate. Insist on both. The "snap test" if positive will show if your dog has been exposed to the disease, or has the active disease, or even may show if it has previously been treated and is now cured. Sometimes the "snap test" will give you a false negative if not performed correctly by a very knowledgable personHowever, with the complete blood test if the hematocrit, haemoglobin, platelets are all depressed (lower than in normal healthy dogs) with a possible elevation of the white blood cells, I would be very suspicious that the dog has the disease regardless of the results of the "snap test" that is if your dog exhibits the above symptoms. Of course if the "snap test" comes back positive, along with the above results, and your dog is exhibiting the classic symptoms, you can pretty well assume your dog has the disease and treatment should begin ASAP.
In absence of other symptoms of other diseases, we sort of consider Ehrlichiosis the "default disease" mostly ruling out other illnesses with just the Ehrlichiosis diagnosis remaining. Most doctors understand the urgency of beginning the treatment asap and will begin it in essence of time based on the symptoms and the blood test.
So, if all of the above appears positive, normally the treatment consists of oral doxycycline (10mg per kg of body weight every 12 hours, given for at least 21 days) and that normally cures the dog. Don't skimp on either the dosage or length of time given. Depending on how severe the disease is, your dog may need some additional therapy such as steroid therapy (to prolong the lifespan of the existing red blood cells) as well as some drugs to enhance the production of new red blood cells if it is severely anemic.
With all this said, the natural question is "how do I avoid my dog getting this disease?" Simple answer; keep them as "tick free" as possible with some of the local topicals that you put on the center of their back once a month (or with the frequency recommended by the product insert) which protects them from other types of parasites as well. It normally contains a "selamectin" type ingredient.
Also, give your dog a thorough weekly visual inspection looking for ticks to let you know it is time to re-apply the topical tick medicine. Even though the package may say it lasts a certain amount of time, I find the effectiveness of those topicals has a wide variation of protection. Nothing is 100% foolproof but this will definitely skew the odds in favor of your pet..I wrote this for you because I felt it was important, but you have friends that I don't know so please pass this on to all of your friends who have a beloved canine pal and keep your dog in Costa Rica healthy.
I would like to dedicate this article to "Molly", a beautiful black Great Dane owned by John and Cathy Nicholas (of Bed and Breakfast, "Chalet Nicholas") who sadly died some three years back before the disease was as well known around these parts. It is her loss that inspired me to spread this important information about a "silent" killer and not lose any more beloved pets due to lack of information.
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- I brought Nexgard with me from the states for my dog for flea/tick control. The beauty is that is an oral preventative so is not affected by the humidity and rain here so does not lose its efficacy like the topicals ( frontline, Advantix). It would be really great if Nexgard were available here, but it is a newer product made by Merial ( makers of Frontline). I
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