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Lickin' The Lyme Tick

July 18, 2008 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
It’s been a hectic summer to say the least. I’m not sure where even the month of July has gone. Mazey had her annual check-up and shots this month. My vet, in State College, recommended a vet closer in distance for routine visits. Because he doesn’t know the area well, this new vet still ended up being located in Roaring Spring which while closer than State College -  half the distance for me, is still 20 miles and still far enough to cause my mother to yell about not finding a vet closer to home…. “Who can win,” I ask?”

Well definitely Mazey wins because this vet rocks. If you can find her office pilgrimaging through umpteen mazes of farms and cornfields, Dr. Gail Ianson-Woodring, At Home Veterninary Care, gets my vote. A routine visit for shots turned into an hour + visit with me learning more about my dog and her canine anatomy and  system then I ever have learned in 10 years of vets visits.

Unfortunately, we did learn that Mazey has Lyme Disease. We weren’t even looking for it. Actually we were testing for heartworm because I had stopped giving her Interceptor – monthly heartworm treatment - last year (for some unknown reason)? So before resuming treatment, we had to do a quick blood test to ensure she showed no sign of it. The all-inclusive test also tests for various kinds of worms and ticks. Quite handy and results take about 15 minutes.
The little blue dot dutifully aligned up in the proper spot to reflect Lyme infection.
With no knowledge of Mazey’s history beyond the two year’s I’ve had her, she could have had it for years but it goes to show how critical testing and preventative treatments can be.

Maze is on a 30-day treatment of Doxycycline (one of three common antibiotics used to treat Lyme’s)  -- or to her that means 30 days of something wrapped in cheese treats - and we’ll check her again in 8 weeks. This could do the trick, kill the bacteria, and put her in remission since she is showing no other signs. I know very little about the disease. Usually when a dog contracts Lyme they develop severe reactions, debilitating and often fatal symptoms within a few days or hours without immediate treatment. Needless to say, there are varying strains, symptoms, and types of this disease that lurk.

But because human data from the Centers of Disease Control suggests that 85 percent of cases are from Eastern coastal states and the same figures may be true for dogs I would say that it is best to have pets in this neck of the woods vaccinated and treated annually even if they are named Princess and live in a diamond-studded doggie condo and their painted paws never touch dirt.  ...And, despite the one vet who told me several years ago that because I live in the city I didn't need to treat for ticks. I hope he now has an incurable, itchy rash.

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