|Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 9:55am PST |
|Ember has chronic Lyme, but at this point we have it suppressed to a point that it doesn't show up on Accuplex tests.
Lyme is, in a way, a disease of the immune system. Most dogs in my area will test positive for Lyme even though they are asymptomatic. Their immune systems are successfully suppressing it on their own. Even Doxy does not kill a Lyme infection, it suppresses it to the point where your immune system can take over. So the problem with an immunosuppressed dog (or human) is that their immune system is not going to take over. Even in an otherwise healthy dog, the Lyme can come out of remission after a successful Doxy treatment.
That's where I was was Ember 2 years ago. I'd treat the Lyme, she'd be ok for a few weeks, then the symptoms would start again and by about 3 months later she'd need Doxy again. Eventually the Lyme becomes resistant to Doxy and you have to find different, stronger antibiotics. I started taking her to a holistic vet who used a specialized mix of immune boosters to help Ember's own immune system fight the Lyme without Doxy. My goal was to at least lengthen the time she went between Doxy treatments, but as it's turned out she hasn't needed any at all.
What your vet should have told you from the start is that you need to do what's called a C6 titer test. This measures the exact amount of Lyme in their blood at the time of diagnosis. From this, you have a basis for further treatment. You re-test after treatment (and during, in some cases) to make sure treatment is effective, and to get a "remission" level. If symptoms return, you can test again to make sure you are looking at an active Lyme infection before you start Doxy again.
The reason vet's don't tell you this is that each C6 test costs about $175. It's not cheap, but the information you gain is extremely helpful. You may choose not to do C6 tests anyway, and just carefully monitor symptoms - I think most people do - but it burns me that vets just assume people don't want to spend the money. You have a right to know it's an option, because if you can afford it, the knowledge is valuable.
All that said, if the symptoms you're seeing are limited to that one foot, you should have that foot examined separately. Just because a dog has Lyme, doesn't mean all health issues from this point forward will be caused by Lyme. I know dogs who have been treated for Lyme over and over because the symptoms weren't going away, and it turned out they had another condition completely unrelated to Lyme (including but not limited to, ACL tears, OCD lesions, elbow displaysia, bone chip in shoulder).
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