Frequent What are the 3 stages of Lyme disease in dogs? Get Your Pet Thinking

How Do Doctors Diagnose Lyme Disease?

In areas where the ticks that carry Lyme disease are found, when a patient comes to a doctor with probable erythema migrans (the rash that appears where the tick bite occurred), blood tests are performed to diagnose the condition, including the following:

  • Step 1: Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or immunofluorescence assay (IFA) — total Lyme titer or IgG and IgM titers
  • Step 2: Western blot testing — only performed if step 1 test results are positive
  • Other tests that may be indicated include the following:

  • Joint aspiration (fluid is drained from the joints) to see if there is another cause for fluid buildup on the joints
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis in patients with meningitis
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to identify Lyme carditis or arrythmias
  • What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

    Symptoms and signs of Lyme disease vary with the stage of the disease. Symptoms of the early stage of Lyme disease include the following:

  • Flulike illness
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Feeling unwell (malaise)
    • Muscle and joint pains
    • Headache
  • A rash called erythema migrans where the tick bite occurred
    • The rash usually appears within a month of getting bitten.
    • Rash appears red, but the center may be a persons normal skin color.
    • The rash may expand over a few days.
    • The rash may look like a “bulls eye.”
  • Swollen glands
  • Neck stiffness
  • Eye redness and tearing
  • As Lyme disease progresses, symptoms and signs may include the following:

  • Conjunctivitis (uncommon)
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Cardiac arrythmias
  • Symptoms similar to meningitis
  • Nerve damage in the nerves of the brain
  • In patients in the late stage of the disease, the most common symptom is arthritis, located mostly in large joints, especially the knee. Symptoms of Lyme arthritis include warmth, swelling from fluid, and limited range of motion.

    Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. In regions of the U.S. where Lyme disease is common, risk factors for getting bitten by a tick include

  • spending a lot of time outdoors and
  • proximity to areas between forest land and lawns, particularly if the area contains low-lying grasses or shrubs.
  • Ticks can also attach to pets (including dogs and cats) that may bring them into the home. The pet may become infected with Lyme disease. If the tick does not attach to the pet, it can attach to a human and transmit the infection.

    Do antibodies to B. burgdorferi determine active infection?

    In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals don’t show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.

    In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.

    Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs- And Why It’s SO Dangerous – Professional Dog Training Tips